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Schumacher Furs finally leaves Portland

November 28, 2006

Yep, you’ve heard it right. The 112 year old business has thrown in the towel. They’re closing the downtown Portland store and might be leaving the state entirely. The animal rights protesters have actually won.

Shumacher Furs isn’t being very graceful about their decision to give in to the many years of protesting by animal rights activists. Check out the sign they have posted in their downtown shop:

schumacher fur sign

(KGW Photo)

I think they’re a little bitter, don’t you?

Today’s KGW Report has this:

Every week for an entire year Schumacher has faced sidewalk protests by animal rights activists. Schumacher has blasted city officials and police for failing to support him in the face of picketers who appear weekly to try to dissuade customers from buying his coats.

“They trespass,” says Schumacher of the picketers. “They vandalize our property. We’ve had bomb scares.”

Police counter that they’ve assigned an officer to every weekly protest and they’ve made occasional arrests. Police also say Schumacher has rejected their advice and has made relations with protesters worse, not better.

Mayor Tom Potter has offered to mediate.

Schumacher replies, “I don’t think it is reasonable to ask me to mediate with a terroristic organization.”

Poor Mr. Schumacher fighting the protester-terrorists. Just this Monday, Bush signed the “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act,” a bad law that is clearly crafted to scare animal rights protesters. Its language is unclear and seems to blur any real distinction between peaceful protest and “terrorist acts” because it allows for criminal punishment of “intimidating behavior” as well as “economic disruption”. I couldn’t find the act in its final form, but here is a script of it while still in session.

It used to be called the “Animal Enterprise Protection Act,” now it’s more clear. If you challenge capitalism, you’re a terrorist. Good times, eh? At least for the moment, animal rights activists here in Portland can celebrate. But the bigger picture still doesn’t look that great.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2006 2:04 pm

    I got in big trouble when I mentioned ths at BlueOregon, but I thought that protest was a pretty self-destructive act for enviros. The truth of political action is that you must form coalitions, and the protesters were so rigid, so livid, and so cringe-producing that they gave fuel to those who want to dismiss greenies. It may have been a moral act to begin with, but it became a self-aggrandizing, self-defeating act after about a month.

  2. girl permalink*
    November 29, 2006 2:54 pm

    Jeff, I agree that coalition-building and organizing is key to political action. Cringe-production tactics are used by both sides. I think it all has it’s place. To me, Schumacher is being a much bigger asshole than the tenacious protesters who ran him out of business.

    I think the Schumacher Fur situation is an example of people wanting to accomplish things whether “we” are with them or not. And it looks like they did…with Schumacher looking like a huge ass in the end. I may have to agree with you on the self-aggrandizing, but self-defeating? Not as far as they see it. Protest is all about faction and fractions, I guess.

  3. December 1, 2006 12:09 pm

    It wasn’t self-defeating in terms of the battle at hand–which was to drive Schumacher’s out of downtown. But there are larger issues at play here. The furs will still be sold, just from a safe, suburban remove. Whether the protesters, so fired up when they were within easy fixie reach, are willing to commute out to Beaverton (or wherever) is another question.

    More importantly, though, the fur battle is part of a much larger war to protect the environment and stem global warming. For folks trying to build coalitions with businesses, hunters, Republicans, and so on, this is a setback. It’s the same problem as when the ELF was out blowing up buildings. Direct action can’t sacrifice the larger cause to accomplish a transcient, small victory. Which is what this looked like to me.

  4. December 1, 2006 6:17 pm

    So standing with a sign is now called “direct action?” I would seriously question anything Gregg Schumacher says about feeling threatened – in fact I happen to know that he threatened protesters. Even city commissioner Randy Leonard called the Schumachers “liars.”

    Your battle may be different than the protesters, so best not to assume that the protesters are really eager to “build coalitions” with hunters or whatever. Most environmentalists are not sympathetic to animal rights (how many people who primarilty identify themselves as environmentalists are vegan?) But most animal rights people do care about the envirnonment and place themselves in a camp that is not friendly to their issues.

    If Schumacher moves, his business just becomes more than a niche. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a fur salon become unwelcome in a city that prides itself on progressive values.

    For people who really know how fur is produced the reduction of the demand for fur is its own battle, not necessarily a subset of something you feel is more important. If you were a wild animal trapped in a cage for life, caught in a painful steel jaw leghold trap for up to a week, were anally electrocuted, skinned alive, were poisoned by crude gassing or injection or whatever, it would be of primary importance to you to have it stop, whether everyone loved you for speaking up or not.

  5. glitterlessgold permalink
    December 3, 2006 4:28 pm

    Wow, that law sure covers a lot. It makes me think that one of these days they’ll be able to arrest someone for a crime they think they’re going to commit…or have the potential to commit…or are associated with people who they think are going to commit a crime. America is turning into Minority Report !

  6. Charles Matthews permalink
    June 18, 2011 11:00 am

    This was an embarrassing moment for Portland. All the stupid people, and ignorant ones at that, who went and protested the Schumacher Fur business. Shame on you. You should have all been taken down to the river and drown. You stupid people wouldn’t have a city to protest and live in without their business. So stupid that you don’t know the history of this state and city. Furs built this state and city. Without furs this area wouldn’t have been founded. Duh, Fort Vancouver, anyone have a mind. Get out of your Vegan induced malaise and grow up. You people don’t deserve to live in this city, I.E. you’re a waste of space. P.S. No sadness about the Indians skinning and wearing millions of buffalo pelts and other animal pelts, but I guess their OK.

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