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Anti-Pesticide Rally Draws Big Crowd

A July 7 downtown Eugene rally against aerial spraying of pesticides drew more than 800 people, according to Day Owen, founder of Pitchfork Rebellion. The group, which Owen describes as “a forest dwellers’ support group consisting of people concerned about aerial spraying of pesticides near our homes,” said it is celebrating having conducted the largest anti-pesticide rally in the history of Oregon. 

Rally-goers heard an impromptu talk by a man who illustrated the lasting impacts of working as a pesticide applicator in the forest industry. He showed the scars on his arms, which had been burned by the harmful chemicals, and described neurological damage he also suffers as a result of his job. 

To illustrate the issue of pesticide use, Owen conducted a mock trial where three companies — Dow Chemical, Monsanto and Syngenta — were found guilty of “corporate eco-terrorism” and “chemical tresspass on our bodies.” 

“We let the audience be the jury,” Owen says, and the verdict was unanimous.

Other speakers included nurse practitioner Ingrid Edstrom, forester Roy Keene and Triangle Lake residents affected by the pesticide sprays.

At the end of the trial, the crowd received “coupons” to fill out and send to Gov. Kitzhaber. “That was a big focus of the event,” Owen says, “calling for the aerial spray ban.” The forms can be found on the back of the June 5 issue of EW. “We still want people to send in the coupons,” he says. “The quest for more coupons continues.” As does the quest to ban the practice of aerial spray, Owen says, starting with a buffer zone around homes and schools.