Not the Kind of Weird That Portland Needs

On Saturday, Miss Pink and I went to Downtown Portland to have breakfast at a place called The Original, which I highly recommend if you’re in the area.  Both times we’ve gone so far, there’s been no wait, prompt service, and amazing food.  And we’re talking Saturday mornings, too.  The first time, I had the duck confit hash, with green peppers, potatoes, and onions.  This past Saturday I had the breakfast burrito, which was about the size of a Chipotle burrito, except longer.  Pork, green chili, potatoes, eggs, and cheddar / jack cheese on the top.

They also offer creme brulee French toast.  Need I say more?

Anyway … after we left, we headed down to 3rd and Oak, where we had heard that the Scientology building was about to open to the public.  Unfortunately, the actual ceremony wasn’t, and was blocked off by police tape, actual police officers, and an unsettling number of 7-foot tall potted plants to obscure the view from the street.  I’m not even joking.  I guess they didn’t want anyone on the outside hearing what they were saying.  They certainly made a big deal of it on their press releases, though …

On Saturday, May 11, the Church of Scientology Portland celebrated the grand opening of their new home in the city’s historic downtown quarter. More than 2,500 Scientologists and guests joined city and state dignitaries for the dedication ceremony.

In recognition of Portland’s new Church, Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, led the dedication. His inaugural address spoke to the history of Scientology in Portland and specifically the events surrounding a first Scientology Freedom Crusade of 1985:

“Portland was our test,” Mr. Miscavige explained. “It was a test of our resolve, our fortitude and determination to avert a grave assault on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. So when you look at where we stand today, remember it was all because our voices were heard 28 years ago.”

I would recommend everyone nearby look where they stand, because the first thing I noticed when I saw the pictures on their website was that it looked like they had Photoshopped a shitload of people on both sides of the building to boost their supposed “attendance”.  A guy could disappear if he’s not careful.  This suspicion was confirmed when I happened upon Tony Ortega at The Underground Bunker, who showed a comparison of the Scientology site’s photos and those from the event taken by non-members or attendees.  The first is from their website, showing that the crowd extends past the edges of the building by about half a block on both sides:

My God, it’s full of people!  Ah, if only it actually happened.

The following two photos are from Tony’s blog, showing that the boundaries of the crowd are limited to the width of the Scientology building itself.  I can also attest to this because we were there for a short time and saw the same thing.  There were rows of trees not only coming from the sides of the building, but another row about half a block away to keep people from getting too close.  (I guess it also made things easier come Photoshop time.)

About half a block’s worth of shrubbery buffer on the south side of the building …

… and only one layer on the north side. Dammit, I wish I knew this on Saturday.

One of the protesters at the opening ceremony. Must be a Reddit fan.

Other photos showing basically the same thing can be found at the Daily Mail.  As Tony said, the folks in the Scientology biz appear to have a reputation for doing stuff like this, so it’s not too surprising.  It does seem a little bold considering the number of passers-by there to witness the event, and the prevalence of social media.  Still, I’m not too sure who these people are targeting with this kind of stuff anyway.  The only people who could probably afford to go are the ones who have already been sucked in.

After a short time, we just kind of wandered off, since there was not much more to see, and we couldn’t actually hear any of the speakers.  That, and one of the protesters I was standing next to started annoying the police officers nearby, and I didn’t feel like getting tazed.

So it would appear that even in the liberal, godless haven of the Pacific Northwest, we’re not immune to the likes of Xenu and all of the money flowing from the church of L. Ron Hubbard.  I am seriously in the wrong line of work.  If I ever want to retire before the age of 70 I should start a religion and let the rest take care of itself.

This entry was posted in Dr. Bob's House of Crap, Freedom from Religion, Religion and Public Life, Religion in the News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Not the Kind of Weird That Portland Needs

  1. Yeah, this was much easier for them back before camera phones and internet. Oops.

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