Forever Amber Waves of Pain

In our telephone conversation after Alley Valkyrie posted her first “threat” Belle Burch admitted she was wrong for not telling me who her people are! Belle sent me her poem that describes her SLEEPING in Wayne Morse Plaza – in a tent! In this article that appeared in the Register Guard, the arrest of Alley, and twenty-one others, is part of a landmark court decision. Was Belle one of the twenty-one? She is one of The Twelve that got arrested with Alley after invading the City Manager’s office. I talked about my radical past. We talked about Radical Artists. Why was it so vital to Belle to SHUT ME UP and stop writing about her – and her friends? Alley gets to write about them, and so does Greg Bolt. How many psychopathic rapists are writers, own a newspaper, and is very candid about his life? With Lauren Regan and this BIG VICTORY behind you, what writer and newspaper – would come to my defense! Why would members of SLEEPS throw away all their good work – just to destroy me – is the question?

Thanks to my therapist helping me with my PTSD I feel I am the newspaperman I was before I walked on the Ken Kesey Square where I met Belle Burch. I have commented on the chalk messages. I just read this…

“Officers on Wednesday returned to the county building and allegedly saw Tomkin, 25, use chalk to write on the county building’s wall. County officials had “very much complained about” SLEEPS-related chalk graffiti on the building earlier this week, Klinko said.

After police detained Tomkin, a number of protesters occupying the group’s base camp at a nearby plaza on federal property “saw what was happening and came across the intersection to save the day,” Klinko said.”

SLEEPS and members of Whoville MARKED the sqaure on Art Walk – AS THEIRS – after being kicked out of the Whoville camp. Is this why THE GANG wanted me to take down my video? Councilperson, Emily Semple, had to see who chalked the square. She needs to resign. Did she understand that Alley and John Monroe were POLICING ME – with threats? Belle also acted like A COP – after I told her I didn’t like her poem.

NO ART CRITICS ALLOWED IN THE NEW ZONE!

How about a psychopathic Lesbian Spy for BAD?

The Register Guard paints a rosy picture of SLEEPS and their Fake Art Compound. Below is a video of a guy telling it like it is, and Ambrose, Belle’s lover, handing out socks. Are they Non-profit? Can the public see an accounting? Where did Alley get the money to live in France? How many politicians in America are fattening their war chest with a promise to solve the homeless problem?

I was The Scapegoat. SLEEPS had lost, and needed their followers to focus on me.

John Presco

“Unless we can create and maintain a vibrant atmosphere downtown where everyone feels welcome and everyone’s rights are respected equally, the current attempts at revitalization never will bear fruit.”

‘Valkyrie never wanted to be the leader and lightning rod she became for the homeless in Eugene. The notoriety and threats were more than her introverted spirit could sustain. “People I once considered friends wouldn’t look me in the eye anymore,” she told me. “I just had to get away.

Don Kahle: Catching up with Alley Valkyrie

By Don Kahle

Posted May 5, 2019 at 12:01 AM

Alley Valkyrie left Eugene five years ago this week, shortly after the homeless camp Whoville was shuttered and dismantled. Five years can pack plenty of changes into a 30-something’s life, so where is Valkyrie today? She’s living in France with her French musician husband and with her famously irascible cat, Squirrel.

Although our paths never officially crossed during her years in Eugene, I visited her recently in Rennes, France’s largest college town. She and her husband showed me around their adopted town and invited me to their favorite after-hours haunts.

Valkyrie clearly reveled in chatting with somebody whose verbs she could conjugate without effort. She’s learning French quickly, but she still thinks in English. That’s important, because Valkyrie thinks out loud better than most people I’ve ever met. Either that, or she had been saving her thoughts for the next native English speaker and I was the fortunate recipient.

Valkyrie was eking out a living in New York City as a street vendor in 2004, when she met some friendly activists affiliated with Cascadia Forest Defenders. They invited her to come to Oregon and participate in their tree-sit protest in the Willamette National Forest.

After three weeks in the forest, she came into town and stumbled on Saturday Market. She immediately knew two things, but only one of them consciously.

She knew that street vending her art could be easier, surrounded by a collective like Saturday Market. She saw that a few rules kept things organized, allowing a family of sharing and support to grow naturally. Somewhere inside, she also must have known a similar network was needed for Eugene’s homeless population.

Whoville provided that loosely organized system of support. In March, 2014, Valkyrie learned that the camp would be forcibly shut down in early April. She recruited a dozen sympathizers to enter City Manager Jon Ruiz’s office and then refused to leave. That was the bang she went out with. The protesters were arrested, though all charges later were dropped.

Valkyrie never wanted to be the leader and lightning rod she became for the homeless in Eugene. The notoriety and threats were more than her introverted spirit could sustain. “People I once considered friends wouldn’t look me in the eye anymore,” she told me. “I just had to get away.”

She settled in Portland five years ago this week. Two years ago, she moved to the Brittany region of France.

Brittany has always maintained a certain distance from Paris, partly by refusing to squelch its citizens’ separatist urges. The region’s history, culture and language have remained distinct. That suits Valkyrie just fine. Outliers will always be quicker to invite radical thoughts.

She believes the French government may prove to be more supple than America’s. France has had five constitutions and three revolutions over the past two centuries, while America is still working with its original model. She sees a future for herself in France, but there’s just one little problem.

She can’t make any trouble that might hurt her chances of gaining citizenship in a few years, but she won’t stop supporting the causes that animate her.

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a weekly column for The Register-Guard and blogs at dksez.com.

Alley Valkyrie: Notre-Dame-des-Landes & The French Police State by Last Born In The Wilderness (soundcloud.com)

“Alley Valkyrie breaks down the current situation in Notre-Dame-des-Landes at the ZAD (French: zone à défendre; English: zone to defend) in rural western France. What originally began as the defense and occupation of a large patch of relatively undisturbed land from a state-sanctioned developmental project to build a massive international airport, has over time become become a place, by its occupants, to experiment with living communally, non-hierarchically, and outside the socio-economic logic of capitalism (to a degree) that pervades the dominate culture and society.”

Protester Alley Valkyrie’s trespassing case is dismissed by a Eugene judge


By Greg Bolt

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, page A1


Lane County violated the constitutional rights of a local activist last year when it had her cited for trespassing following her refusal to leave a public plaza after officials closed it, a Eugene Municipal Court judge has ruled.

In her decision, Judge Karen Stenard said the county’s reason for ejecting protesters and shutting the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza — that the area had to be cleaned because human feces were smelled in the area — was too broad and did not pass the rigorous test required for government actions that restrict constitutional freedoms.

As a result, Stenard dismissed the charge of second-degree trespassing filed against protester Alley Valkyrie.

“Frankly, it was the right decision,” Valkyrie said Thursday. “It was what I was hoping for. It was what I expected.”

Valkyrie was cited under city ordinance, but the ticket was issued only after then-county Administrator Liane Richardson asked city police to enforce the closure of the county-owned plaza, which fronts the Public Service Building at 125 E. Eighth Ave. A spokeswoman for the county on Thursday said officials there did not have any comment on the court’s ruling.

Stenard has not yet ruled on a companion case that also stems from a series of protests held at the plaza last winter. That case challenges as unconstitutional a county rule closing the plaza from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and involves 21 people who were given trespassing citations for violating the curfew.

Both cases grew out of protests by the group SLEEPS — Safe, Legally Entitled Places to Sleep — over issues concerning the rights of homeless people. During protests in December and January the group set up tents in the Morse plaza to draw attention to the problems the homeless face finding a safe place to sleep at night.

During arguments last month on the motion to dismiss the charges, an attorney for Valkyrie argued that the county’s reason for imposing the December closure was simply a pretext aimed at shutting down the protest and forcing activists to remove the tents they had set up as symbols in the plaza. Lauren Regan, director of the Eugene-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, said the county didn’t need to close the plaza to address its concerns about public health and safety.

According to established law, actions by governments that hamper the exercise of constitutional rights must be crafted to impose as few limitations on those rights as possible. Stenard said the closure of the plaza failed that test, and because of that she said no further examination of the issues raised at the hearing was necessary.

“Even under the least strict analysis, the five-day closure was not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest and was thus unconstitutional,” Stenard wrote in her order. “Additional constitutional analysis and findings of fact and credibility are therefore unnecessary.”

Valkyrie was cited Dec. 13, the day the closure was instituted. The county didn’t reopen the plaza until Dec. 17. The closure was announced by Richardson, who testified during the hearing that she had smelled human feces in a landscaped area next to the plaza during the protest.

County commissioners in a unanimous vote fired Richardson for cause earlier this week following an investigation into allegations she improperly converted unused paid sick time or vacation time and deferred benefits into up-front cash payments for herself.

Valkyrie and other protesters disputed Richardson’s claims about the feces. Valkyrie said she was a little disappointed the judge didn’t go further and address protesters’ belief that Richardson used the alleged odors as a pretense to get rid of protesters.

Protesters have accused Richardson of lying about the odor and playing on a stereotype of homeless people as dirty and unsanitary. Several protesters testified in the hearing about their efforts to keep the plaza clean during the demonstration, saying they never smelled feces and went to great lengths to pick up any litter or debris in the area.

A crew that handled the clean-up work did not find any feces in the plaza, officials said.

Given this week’s developments, Valkyrie said she hopes the county takes a different stand next time a protest is held in the plaza.

“I just hope that between Liane getting fired and the judge’s ruling, the next time a group decides to set up they won’t be accused of pooping in the planter the very next day.”

Demonstrators supporting efforts to allow homeless camping are taken into custody, and others are cited


By Jack Moran

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, page B1


Rising tensions boiled over Wednesday in downtown Eugene when a man allegedly kicked a Eugene police officer in the head during a heated confrontation between officers and homeless protesters outside the Lane County Public Service Building.

Police arrested at least four members of the protest group in a series of incidents throughout the day, and issued tickets to several others for violating a city ordinance that bans camping on public property.

Members of the group known as SLEEPS, or Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, accused police of suddenly abandoning a diplomatic approach and taking a more aggressive tack with protesters.

“I think that what happened (Wednesday) was a coordinated effort to shut down the protest and terrorize an already vulnerable population,” said Alley Valkyrie, a Eugene resident who has advocated for homeless rights.

Eugene police Lt. Eric Klinko, who has helped coordinate his department’s response to the series of camp-in protests staged by SLEEPS members this summer, said that while protesters and police have avoided major clashes, “the relationship is tenuous, at best.”

Klinko added: “Could (Wednesday’s scene at the county building) negatively impact that? Yes.”

Wednesday’s incident came one day after police issued citations to two local homeless men, Joshua Orin Tomkin and Rusty Lee Savage, who had pitched tents on the Public Service Building terrace and camped there since Sunday. The men didn’t leave the area even after being ticketed for violating the camping ordinance, which carries a $200 fine upon conviction.

Officers on Wednesday returned to the county building and allegedly saw Tomkin, 25, use chalk to write on the county building’s wall. County officials had “very much complained about” SLEEPS-related chalk graffiti on the building earlier this week, Klinko said.

After police detained Tomkin, a number of protesters occupying the group’s base camp at a nearby plaza on federal property “saw what was happening and came across the intersection to save the day,” Klinko said.

Officers tried to prevent the approaching crowd from reaching the terrace, but one of them — identified as Larry Michael Pleasant, 55 — was pulled to the ground by police when he attempted to get past them, Klinko said.

During an ensuing scuffle, Pleasant allegedly kicked an officer in the head. Pleasant was being held Wednesday evening in the Lane County Jail on charges of assaulting a public safety officer and interfering with police. Tomkin was jailed on a charge of third-degree criminal mischief. The officer was not identified.

Police removed the tents that Tomkin and Savage, 19, had been using during their stay on the terrace. The pair had said they would remain outside the county building until Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy paid them a visit to discuss homeless rights. Piercy said she will speak with protesters who make appointments to meet in her office.

SLEEPS wants the city to overturn its camping ban on public property and designate public areas for homeless people to stay.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, police arrested two other SLEEPS protesters. One of them, Conrad Kendall Barney, was jailed on a second-degree criminal trespass charge after he allegedly walked onto a now-closed pedestrian bridge between the Public Service Building and the former Eugene City Hall. Valkyrie said Barney had gone onto the bridge to hang a protest sign.

Another protester, Peter David Grotticelli, 25, was arrested on a warrant alleging that he had failed to appear in Eugene Municipal Court in a trespassing case.

Eugene police also issued citations to four people for allegedly violating the city’s camping ban at a SLEEPS protest on county-owned property off River Road. A separate group of protesters were instructed to dismantle their makeshift campsite along 13th Avenue near the Lane Events Center. One protester, who is known within the group as Tin Man, accused police of illegally searching his tent, and said he doesn’t plan to leave the site.

https://www.registerguard.com/story/opinion/2012/02/24/excluding-some-from-downtown-excludes/11845379007/

Throughout downtown Eugene, there are signs of revitalization. From the new Lane Community College campus to the Centre Court building a few blocks away, the construction is a welcome sight after years of empty pits and neglected buildings.

However, its hard not to notice what downtown still lacks: Pedestrian traffic. Street artists. Somewhere to sit and eat lunch. Inviting common space to meet some friends.

Eugenes downtown is a stark contrast to other college towns across the country. Where are the shoppers, sightseers, artists, performers, musicians, sidewalk vendors and others who are the core of a vibrant city center? With all the recent investments in downtown, the one that seems most overlooked is an investment in community and public space.

Common space is essential to a vibrant town center, and downtown Eugene lacks this crucial element. In the past, Kesey Square was one such common space. Now, it sits empty and neglected. Tables and chairs were removed from the square, and anti-loitering music blares from a tinny speaker 24 hours a day.

That policy is typical of Eugenes city planning. There is nowhere to sit throughout downtown. The benches were ripped from the sidewalks long ago and replaced with planters. Sitting on, or even leaning against, a planter in downtown Eugene can result in a maximum fine of $500.

Many downtown business interests blame the lack of pedestrian traffic in part on the homeless and transient population. There is ongoing pressure on the mayor and the Eugene Police Department to clean up downtown, which results in what many view as systematic harassment of the disenfranchised population.

Sitting on a planter, leaning against a building or even crossing the street at the wrong angle can result in a citation. Those cited for such offenses are almost exclusively the young, homeless and disenfranchised.

Certain offenses, such as leaning on a building, can result in exclusion from the downtown core under the Downtown Public Safety Zone ordinance, which is scheduled to sunset this April unless the City Council decides to renew it.

The safety zone was intended to keep chronic, serious offenders from the downtown core. Yet police officers recently attempted to exclude transients for minor offenses such as leaning against a building and possessing a small amount of marijuana.

The ordinance creates a second penalty: The defendant is cited for a violation and also required to appear before a judge at a different time to challenge the exclusion, even before a conviction for the actual citation is reached in court.

Exclusions often are decided against the defendant based on a single officers testimony. And if an exclusion is granted, excluded persons face immediate arrest if they enter the zone without permission from the court.

For many who live and work downtown, the safety zone is emblematic of the types of attitudes and policies that are contributing to an unwelcoming and hostile atmosphere. A city center where some are made to feel persecuted and unwelcome inevitably feels unwelcome to all, and is detrimental to the intended goal of stimulating commerce and community downtown.

Earlier this month, a collective of like-minded people came together in Kesey Square on a Friday afternoon to create the downtown we wish to see a downtown that is welcoming, inclusive, and that respects the rights of everyone to congregate in public space regardless of economic status. We brought tables and chairs, played board games and read books, handed out organic produce and created murals throughout the square with sidewalk chalk.

We created a welcoming space where everyone had somewhere to be and something to do, including some who have faced exclusion hearings as a result of the Downtown Public Safety Zone ordinance.

The mere presence of people congregating in the town square drew curiosity, attention and praise from all around, and it demonstrated why a vibrant community presence is essential to a healthy downtown.

We have gathered every Friday since, intentionally creating a space where anyone can come to read a book, play chess, eat lunch with friends, display and sell art, network with others, or rock out with a guitar.

The hope is that our example will stimulate further cultural activity, community events and pedestrian traffic throughout downtown, but neither these efforts or any attempt at downtown revitalization truly will succeed if city government and law enforcement continue to promote laws and policies that focus on exclusion, harassment and profiling.

Public safety is an obvious and legitimate concern. But its one that is best addressed through community involvement, responsible policing and personal accountability, not through excluding undesirables from the city center.

Unless we can create and maintain a vibrant atmosphere downtown where everyone feels welcome and everyones rights are respected equally, the current attempts at revitalization never will bear fruit.

Alley Valkyrie and John Monroe are organizers with Occupy Eugene and the Kesey Square Revival, a public space revitalization project focused on downtown Eugene.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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