April 11th, 2013 | Aaron Mesh News | Posted In: Activism, City Hall, Environment, Drugs

The Week in Gadflies: Pot, Packy and Buckman Pool

     
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buckmanpoolBuckman Pool signs

Everybody in Portland has a cause. Some people have them out of principle, some have them out of need, and some have them just 'cause. But in Little Beruit, if you're not outraged, you're not paying your dues.

That dissent is vital to the city, but it can be hard to keep up. Here are the latest protests for your appointment calendar.

  • The Marijuana Policy Project put up a billboard on March 28 for April's Alcohol Awareness Month, arguing that marijuana is less harmful than booze. The message didn't make it to April: Within two days, a vandal tore it down. So this morning the ganja-legalization advocates unveiled a new sign at Southwest 13th Avenue and Alder Street intended to "taunt" whoever ripped the last one. It's less discernible what this replacement billboard is about, but it definitely contains more taunting.
Marijuana Policy Project billboard

 

  • The Oregon Zoo is holding a 51st birthday party for Packy the elephant this Sunday, April 14, complete with his traditional cake. In Defense of Animals is crashing. The animal activists, who have argued for years that Packy is traumatized and belongs in a sanctuary, will hold a demonstration outside zoo gates at 3 pm Sunday—just as crowds are exiting the birthday celebration. IDA will argue that the zoo has "stripped Packy of the dignity he deserves" and present him with sympathy cards.
  • The annual kabuki theater of saving Buckman Pool is underway. As it has been for more than a decade, the tiny basement swimming pool in Southeast Portland is on City Hall's list of budget cuts. Neighborhood organizer Christine Yun wants it off the list. She's recruited a coalition of "Buckman Pool Heroes" to bring signs (photo above) and personal testimony to the city's public budget hearing at the Montgomery Park building tonight at 6:30. Commissioner Steve Novick has already felt pressure from the pool people. Asked this week about the power of Portland's arts lobby, he replied, "They're going to have to go a long way to match the Buckman Pool activists."

Got a protest, demonstration or neighborhood gripe? Send it to amesh@wweek.com.

 
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