Timber Barons are the 1%: Occupy Eugene Meets Forest Defence
18th November 2011
Cascadia Forest Defenders and marchers with Occupy Eugene shut down Umpqua Bank yesterday from noon to close. Activists raised a banner reading “Stumpqua funds clearcuts,” and soft blockaded both customer entrances. Umpqua, which was the first stop in a series of N17 Occupy Eugene bank closures, chose to lock its doors rather than call on law enforcement.
Umpqua Bank has a long history of providing low interest loans to Oregon’s timber barons. The bank is most infamously tied to Roseburg Forest Products’ sole owner, Allyn Ford, who is also the chairman of Umpqua Bank’s board of directors. Over the last year RFP logged hundreds of acres of Cascadia’s ancient temperate rainforests and laid off over 200 Oregon mill workers. In targeting Stumpqua, activists hope to thwart attempts of green and local washing on the part of bank executives.
After the Umpqua action, marchers proceeded on to U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and Chase. Between the three banks, law enforcement arrested 17 activists for similar soft blockades.