Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Is Gregg Schumacher a total idiot or just an asshole of epic proportions?

Is it just me, or is the dustup with anti-fur protestors and skin-off-their-back shopkeeper Gregg Schumacher looking more and more like the product of Schumacher just being a dick?

I generally don't pay much attention to animal welfare protesting type stuff because it would make me a hypocrite. While the idea of wearing fur completely creeps me out I do wear leather (and carry it in the form of handbags and satchels, too). I can't reconcile my inconsistent feelings on the matter--only that it is. But the escalation of hostilities in downtown Portland between Schumacher Furs, promoters of downtown Portland shopping and animal welfare activists seems to have reached a zenith.

Schumacher complained in today's O that he's forced to move his business to the burbs (he wouldn't tell the O where he's going but I've heard its to Bridgeport Village in Tualatin) because downtown Portland is unsafe with its nest of panhandlers and protestors assaulting shoppers. The Merc is reporting that they've in fact been evicted, rather than just relocating.

Having just spent part of last Saturday in downtown Portland doing just the type of Christmas shopping that downtown businesses look for, I can attest to the fact that there are panhandlers. I even had one get a little aggressive with me. But at no time did I feel unsafe. Plus it doesn't seem to be curtailing the shopping. The stores looked to be doing a brisk business.

From what I can tell, Gregg Schumacher has had a firm hand in pushing this conflict to its current place. Provocative actions such as placing a stuffed bobcat in the window of his store and signage which appears to deliberately poke at protestors isn't exactly a good faith way of solving this conflict.

Its also been reported that Portland City Counciler Randy Leonard made overtures to Schumacher to help resolve the protests and was rebuffed. Apparently there's no helping this guy.

Certainly the protestors have a hand in making it uncomfortable to walk near Schumacher's store, much less shop in it. But its apparent that Schumacher either isn't bright enough or is too much of an arrogant dick to work with anyone to resolve the matter.