BANK & POLICE ATTACK NEEDLE EXCHANGE, VOLUNTEER

Anti-Prohibition Lg. (aal01@teleport.com)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 03:12:17 -0700 (PDT)


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The AMERICAN ANTI-PROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Drug War, or : 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 Drug Peace?" : 503-235-4524/fax:503-234-1330/Email:AAL01@teleport.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Monday, April 14, 1997

*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

Anti-Prohibition League Director Under Attack

Wells Fargo Bank, Police "arrest" volunteer and remove needle exchange

Portland, Oregon -- On December 19, 1991 volunteers from the Anti- Prohibition League, the Pacific/Green Party, and a couple of local churches began daily operation of the "Hunger Free Zone" at SE 38th & Hawthorne Boulevard. Over the years this all volunteer sidewalk soup kitchen has operated without interruption, or interference. For 3 years it operated 7 days a week, 2 years ago that was changed to Monday through Friday and the name became the "Harm Reduction Zone," (HRZ), to better describe its true function. For 2 hours, between 4p.m. and 6p.m., the HRZ (a 6 foot-long, 31 inch-wide pushcart) offers free food, needle exchange, health care referral and drug treatment options for the indigent.

The HRZ has played a beneficial role in the lives of many former 'hard' drug abusers, some of whom now volunteer for the zone and help encourage and support others on to the road of recovery.

On Friday, April 11, at about 4:30P.M. Portland Police Bureau Officer Carmella (BPST# 30395) approached league director and HRZ project coordinator Floyd Ferris Landrath. Carmella said he wanted to establish "dialog." But what would have been welcome dialog was only a pretense for a non-negotiable "order to move." According to Carmella, Wells Fargo management said, "the people in the bank don't like to see the 'homeless,' it makes them uncomfortable."

How odd that was never said before. The HRZ has been at this location for over 2 years since renovation of its previous location forced it to move for protection from the elements. Of course Wells Fargo just bought out 1st Interstate and management of this branch has recently changed. Stark contrast to the former occupants who sometimes provided food and appreciated our efforts to pick-up the ever-present litter on Hawthorne.

At any rate Officer Carmella was soon joined by the shift supervisor Lanny Bennet and an other senior officer who's name is not known. Carmella went back in the bank for several minutes after he told Mr. Landrath to remain there because he was now, "under arrest." Bennet's companion then took exception to the needle exchange, accusing Landrath of promoting drug use. Bennet stood-by shaking his head in mock despair, muttering something about what a problem the league director has been to him for so many years.

Carmella returned and issued a citation to Landrath accusing him of violating City Ordinance 14.20.010, "Obstruction as nuisance blocking sidewalk" which carries a maximum fine of $299. Upon agreeing to move away from the bank Landrath was un-arrested. He packed up his push cart and moved across the street to continue conducting needle exchanges and handing out free food to the hungry.

Later that night while planning a response with local activists, Landrath was quoted saying, "I was not prepared to spend the weekend in an over-crowded holding cell and let these terrorists with badges potentially release a violent felon so they can get revenge on one of their and Portland Mayor Katz's biggest critics."

As reported in local press and media, last weekend over 80 "prisoners" were released from custody because Portland police are so busy filling jails with non-violent drug offenders, sex-industry workers and their customers there's no room left for real criminals, with real victims. How many murderers and rapists 'slip through the cracks' is anybody's guess.

But there's no guess work about 4p.m., Monday, April 14. Mr. Landrath swore he will return and attempt to conduct the operation as before. With one exception, the following flier will be offered to all people entering Wells Fargo Bank or using their ATM. HRZ supporters are encouraged to come and help show their support.

WHAT: Non-violent protest. Please bring signs protesting police abuse and Wells Fargo's gross generalization and scapegoating of 'homeless' people.

WHEN: Monday, April 14, 4P.M.

WHERE: in front of Wells Fargo Bank at the southwest corner of Hawthorne Blvd. and SE 38th Avenue in Southeast Portland.

ALTERNATIVE PHONE & MAIL ACTION: If you can't join Mr. Landrath at the bank then you might want to call the branch manager who we are told is, JOANN MEAD at 503-225-3565. Or send mail to her at 3782 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland OR 97214.

Wells Fargo's corporate headquarters is at 800-869-3557 to register your protest.

The Hawthorne Blvd. Business Association, 774-2832, or email:

Please feel free to copy and distribute this to all internet, press, media, etc.

Thank you. ============================================================================== ATTENTION ALL WELLS FARGO BANK CUSTOMERS & MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY AT-LARGE

Dear friends,

Please be aware that Wells Fargo management, in apparent concert with local police, have recently complained that the mere sight of 'homeless' people makes them "uncomfortable." For this volunteer and well-known anti- prohibition activists, Floyd Ferris Landrath, was arrested and issued a citation on Friday, April 11th. Mr. Landrath faces a $299.00 fine if he's found guilty of "obstructing" the sidewalk with his organization's 6 foot- long, 31 inch-wide Harm Reduction Zone food cart.

As you may know, for more than 5 years Mr. Landrath, dozens of volunteers and several contributors have been feeding the hungry and working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through operation of the only regular needle exchange program in Southeast Portland. Needle exchange programs have been scientifically proven to prevent disease and do NOT promote drug abuse, in fact quite the opposite. Several people have gone on to drug abuse recovery with help from the HRZ.

Floyd Landrath is a well-known community activist and has consistently been one of the most vociferous critics of Mayor Vera Katz's "Drug Free Zones" (sic) and the Oregon Legislature's fascists steam-roller campaigns to "re- criminalize (sic) marijuana," (currently HB3643/SB636). Mr. Landrath is also one of the Chief Petitioners for the Oregon Drugs Control Amendment, a state- wide petition drive and the most progressive drug policy reform proposal in the nation. Drug war fascists and profiteers hate it.

Please help us stop this blatant political harassment. Politely tell Wells Fargo management you will move your account(s) to another institution if they do not stop harassment of this important community resource. Please be polite and ask them to act like adults by starting a dialog with Mr. Landrath who is willing to cooperate and address any valid concerns they may have. To date the bank has made no effort whatsoever at meaningful communication.

Thank you for your support,

Floyd.

WELLS FARGO BANK LOCAL CONTACT INFORMATION: SE 38th & Hawthorne branch manager (we think) Joann Mead, 225-3565

WELLS FARGO BANK HEADQUARTERS: 1-800-869-3557

Hawthorne Blvd. Business Association: 774-2832, or email:

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