Great news! The Portland Solidarity Network (PDX Sol) has won our most recent campaign! Our friend Beth received a check for her full deposit from Brian Wannamaker, the target of our campaign, and it has been confirmed that the check has cleared, thereby meeting our campaign’s demand! Brian, the owner and landlord of the Falcon Art Community building where Beth briefly lived, initially refused to return Beth’s security deposit after she was forced to move out because of black mold in her apartment. Brian only relented and returned the deposit after PDX Sol spent several weeks engaging in direct action. Our victory proves that a network of community volunteers and supporters committed to solidarity with tenants and workers CAN produce real victories!
Beth initially got in contact with us after seeing our posters, and we took on her campaign with Beth as a member and active participant. We began by delivering a letter to the Falcon Art Community offices that demanded the return of her deposit in full. Thirty-four people came out to support Beth by crowding into the Falcon Art Community’s office and handing over the demand letter. (Watch a video of the event here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj2kqiDDr7o&feature=youtu.be) We continued our fight after the demand delivery by engaging in a campaign of direct action – a strategy that empowers individuals and their communities to directly confront those responsible for their exploitation without relying on lawyers or bureaucratic institutions. In the case of our campaign, PDX Sol and our supporters persisted in confronting Brian until he did the right thing and returned Beth’s deposit. We relied on nothing more than the strength of our unified voice and the power that comes from public pressure.
Congratulations to Beth – not just for the accomplishment of winning back her deposit, but also for having the courage to confront a greedy landlord. And we wish to thank everyone who volunteered their time and energy by participating in the demand delivery and helping us with further actions. You have demonstrated the true meaning of Solidarity! Our success in this campaign is proof that even seemingly minor acts like attending a demand delivery can meaningfully contribute to a broader struggle for justice.
Although PDX Sol recognizes the significance of helping Beth win back her deposit, and we hope to build on the momentum from this victory leading into our next campaign, we also realize how important it is to receive support with actions and organizing. We therefore strongly encourage any sympathetic individuals to (continue to) participate in future demand deliveries and in future actions, and we urge anyone at all interested in our organization or in the concept of a solidarity network to contact us and/or attend an organizing meeting.
To celebrate our victory, members of PDX Sol as well as supporters, well-wishers, and friends and family are having an informal gathering this Friday (9/21) at 6:00 PM at the Alberta Street Pub at 1036 Northeast Alberta Street in Portland. Everyone’s invited – especially the folks that helped Beth get back her deposit! Anyone interested in finding out more about the Portland Solidarity Network, attending future actions, or joining our organization should attend.