|Protesters from Occupy Portland and Portland Rising Tide confront Bank of America with a dance off in the lobby of their corporate office tower in downtown Portland.|
A march left Occupy Portland Monday afternoon and headed for the Bank of America tower and financial building which houses corporate offices of this thieving corporation. Thirty five protesters entered the building and kicked off a rowdy dance party in the lobby, playing on bucket drums and rhythm sticks. The Bank of America branch immediately locked its doors, preventing protesters from bringing the dance party inside
As this debauchery disrupted business as usual in the tower lobby and the bank branch and mortgage center, a small group of individuals took the elevator to the seventeenth floor to deliver letters to corporate employees demanding that Bank of America cease and desist its funding of coal mining across the country and coal export projects in the northwest. Copies of the letter were also taped all over on the bottom floor of the building, and educational fliers handed out to passers-by and bank customers, urging them to mover their money to local credit unions.
Climate activists have been targeting Bank of America branches over the past year in Portland and beyond for the company’s financing of coal. Proposed coal export terminals threaten the Northwest in Longview and Bellingham, Wahington, as well as St. Helens and Coos Bay, Oregon. These terminals seek to export up to 80 million tons of domestic coal annually to growing Asian markets, in stark contrast to the recent achievements Oregonians have made in moving away from dirty coal fired power plants. While Bank of America gets the profits off of their investment in the world’s most dirty energy source, the rest of the world gets the devastating side effects such as natural disasters fueled by climate change, health problems from living near coal plants, rail-lines or export facilities, and forced removal from our homes and land to allow for coal mining.
Activists told left the bank, saying they would keep coming back as long as they continued to finance coal and profit off of the destruction of our health, climate, and communities. The march continued to the Wells Fargo tower where activists were no allowed entry, but an employee from inside came out to discuss issues of corporate power with protesters.