Although the anniversary passed with barely a murmur in Portland, from coast to coast several gatherings commemorated the second annual International Day of Solidarity With Jeff "Free" Luers. In Eugene, where Luers has been in jail for the past five years, there were speeches and a benefit concert. In San Francisco, there was a critical mass bike ride in his support. And, in LA and DC, there were screenings of a documentary about Luers, who was imprisoned in 2000 after pleading guilty to arson. He claims to have set fire to three SUVs at a local dealership to bring attention to Americans' gas-guzzling habits. Although the act only caused minor property damage, Luers, 23 years old at the time, was sentenced to an astounding 22 years.
In other eco-terrorist news, Tre Arrow is scheduled for extradition hearings next week, June 27, in Vancouver, BC. Arrow is suspected of setting fire to logging trucks at the controversial Eagle Creek logging site. He fled to Canada in 2002, where he was caught a year ago for allegedly shoplifting a pair of bolt-cutters. PB
WHAT A DICK!
Even though Vice-President Dick Cheney came to town last week for the sole purpose of enjoying a bottle of wine with a friend--and not on any public business--Portland's cash-strapped police bureau will still be forced to pick up the tab. Thanks, Dick!
On June 6, VP Cheney dropped into Portland to visit an old fishing buddy and big-time Republican contributor. In years past, Cheney has hosted Republican fundraisers on the outskirts of town in order to avoid protesters; this time, with no pre-announced travel agenda, he managed to slip in and out of town without much notice.
Even so, police were mandated to put additional and overtime patrols on the highways and airways. Although police spokesperson Sgt. Brian Schmautz did not yet know an exact cost, in the past, police protection for the Vice-President has hovered around $100,000. (That's an expensive bottle of wine for tax-payers!) Schmautz did say that the city will pass along a bill to the White House, just like they do for all visiting dignitaries--but don't count on Portland being reimbursed.
"We've never seen payment," said Sgt. Schmautz, adding, "regardless of political party." PB