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Fur feud far from a thaw

Store supporter shoves activist in latest weekly protest downtown

Tensions continue to rise at the ongoing Saturday animal rights protests outside the downtown Schumacher Furs and Outerwear store.

On June 14, customer Judy Denton testified before the City Council that she felt 'terrorized' by the protesters when she entered and left the store owned by Gregg and Linda Schumacher the previous month.

Three days later, Schumacher supporter Frederick Picou of Northeast Portland was arrested by Portland police after he shoved a female protester - a member of the activist group Radical Cheerleaders - to the ground during a scuffle outside the store at 811 S.W. Morrison St. Picou was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment and released without having to post bail.

Meanwhile, Mayor Tom Potter's attempt to have the city mediate the dispute is foundering. Potter has asked the Schumachers to meet with protester organizer Matt Rossell, Northwest outreach coordinator of In Defense of Animals. Rossell has proposed the Schumachers put labels on their clothes saying that animals were mistreated to make them. Gregg Schumacher calls the idea 'ridiculous' and says there is no point in meeting with Rossell.

The protests already have lasted nearly eight months. 'I've been doing this work for 15 years and I've never heard of a protest aimed at a single business lasting as long as the one in Portland,' said Keith Kaplan, executive director of the Fur Information Council of America.