The wild, the weird and the plain silly
Twenty years of surveillance netted a bounty for Portland's Intelligence Division.
Here are a few highlights from the files:
• A 1973 report from a catchall file labeled 'Misc. ÐÊLocal' describes how Watergate operative Donald Segretti visited Portland in September 1971 with $500,000 in cash and a mission to use prostitutes to discredit Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern and Sen. Henry 'Scoop' Jackson, D-Wash. In 1974, Segretti served 4 1/2 months in federal prison for political tricks. The Portland report apparently played no role in his prosecution.
• The 'South Africa ÐÊAnti' file includes a 1979 investigation of a half-dozen Portland high school students who wrote letters criticizing a local metals business that was selling gold Krugerrands from South Africa's racist government. The investigators recorded and filed the writers' dates of birth, their phone numbers and their class schedules and grades.
• A box labeled 'Cults' contains a copy of the 1983 annual report of Portland's First Unitarian Church.
• Also in the 'Cults' box is a 1970 intelligence report on a cheerful couple who, the report said, were playing tambourines and talking to people at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Washington Street about a 'religious cult known as Bhagavad Gita' (the Bhagavad-Gita is a classic religious text of Hinduism).
'Subjects do not appear to be causing a disturbance,' the report said, 'although their chanting and dancing usually draws quite a crowd. Both subjects were very polite and cooperative and willing to explain to us their purposes.'
• A file on an alternative newspaper notes that its publisher 'would appear to be a homosexual.' The paper later folded after having problems with the Internal Revenue Service.
• A file on the popular Fallen Angel Choir contains a single item: a copy of a 1982 newspaper story headlined 'Caustic carolers sing in the spirit of sarcasm.'
• A file labeled 'Nuclear Power ÐÊAnti' contains a list of campaign contributors for a 1976 ballot measure sponsored by Oregonians for Nuclear Safeguards. The list contains the names and addresses of local attorneys, engineers, academics, doctors and ministers, as well as comedian Lily Tomlin, who gave $5,000.
• The file on Portland's Rape Relief Hotline includes a March 1978 letter to The Oregonian signed by two women and discussing Oregon rape laws. An officer ran a check on the letter writers.
• In a file on the Wells Springs commune in Eureka, Calif. Ñ whose members were linked to Charles Manson, the Symbionese Liberation Army and a terrorist holdup gang Ñ handwritten notes and printouts from a computer database indicate that in 1984, Portland police launched an investigation of the Wellsprings Center for day care in Southwest Portland after spotting its name in a newspaper photo caption.
• The 'Churchs (sic) ÐÊRed' folder contains a newspaper clipping with the headline 'United Methodists shift pastors.'
• The file labeled 'IRA' lists the names and addresses of hundreds of Oregon residents who signed a 1981 petition protesting the mistreatment of Irish political prisoners in British prisons.