Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 5th - Occupy Congressional District 2 Arrests

On December 5th, 2011, Occupy Medford held a rally in conjunction with the activist groups Citizens for Peace and Justice, Oregon Action, Peace House, Jobs with Justice, and Veterans for Peace. The rally was held in solidarity with all of Oregon Congressional District 2's Occupy Movements including Occupy Medford, Occupy Ashland, Occupy Bend, Occupy La Grande, Occupy Hood River, and others across Oregon.

The rally was held to showcase Representative Walden's failure to plan, inform on, and execute open and accessible town hall meetings throughout Congressional District 2 and to denounce his Wall Street favoring voting history. 
"I believe the last true town hall meeting with adequate notice that Walden held in Medford was on 7.3.07, more than four years ago." says former chairman for the Jackson County Democratic Party Allen Hallmark. "Yes, he visits Medford often, but his visits are mostly unnannounced to the public and are most with Chambers of Commerce, Rotaries, and business/industry groups. He has 2 town halls scheduled on 12.28.11 in Rufus, OR, and Fossil, OR. None in Bend, Medford or any other sizable town in his district."
Starting at 11:00 AM protesters gathered in Alba Park in downtown Medford to show their disapproval of Walden's behavior as Representative. As the night progressed a number of protesters had had enough of waiting for Walden to respond and proceeded to move their protesting to Walden's Medford Office at 14 N Central Avenue.

At 5:45, police began to show up in front of the Representative's office. Protesters were told they most vacate the premises or face trespassing charges. Of the 8 still in the office when police arrived, 6 decided to stay:
  • Herbert Rothschild
  • Deborah Rothschild
  • Allen Hallmark
  • Mary Madsen
  • Ivand Holen
  • Daniel Guy
All those who remained were cited with trespassing on private property. At the same time in Bend another 8 protesters were arrested and cited with trespassing. Throughout the day, Walden never contacted his offices with an agreement for more accessible town halls. However, Walden aide Andrew Whelan says the Representative has held many town halls in the state and will be holding two more this year in Fossil (pop. 470) and Rufus (pop. 268), both of which are a 2 hour drive from Bend, the nearest Congressional District 2 population center.

"The response from the people here gathered is that that's not accessible," said Kathleen Paterno, the Bend organizer. "Accessibility is one part of our demand, that he needs to be able to be in places where enough people who are experiencing problems can come to the town halls. So we are asking that he schedule something in a population center within the district."
Today, December 6th, Walden was met in his Washington DC office by Occupiers and other activists in a DC centered event with protesters from around the country. Among those who were able to meet the elusive Walden were people from Portland, Eugene, and Congressional District 2. According to Rich of Oregon Action, their group managed to send 3 people from the Rogue Valley to participate in this action.

There is a nationwide effort to Occupy Congressional offices around the country, proving again our Occupy Movement is here to stay. We are undeterred by the threats of arrest and fines. We will continue to seek fair and equal representation from our elected officials. We will not stop until there is systemic change throughout the country. We are the 99% Mr. Walden, and we'd like to hear from you.

-Occupy Mind of Occupy Medford

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