Protesters stretched out thousands of postcards taped end to end from people across the state. The postcards call for Congress to cut all funding for the war in Iraq.
Kelly Campbell is the Portland director for the American Friends Service Committee. She is also one of the organizers of the event. She said she appreciates Senator Wyden's opposition to the war from the outstet. But Campbell says after Wyden's town hall meeting on Iraq two weeks ago, he treaded water.
Kelly Campbell: “He would not commit to voting 'no' on any appropriations for the war. And he believed that we should leave some troops in Iraq. So we I guess got excited that he needed to hear a message that that was not good enough.”
Five 10-foot tall banners spread across the sidewalk showcased what protestors say one day's spending in Iraq could pay for in America. The group says that in addition to current costs of $280 million per day to fund the war, it will cost an additional $440 million per day to pay off interest on the war debt, caring for the wounded, and re-building Iraq.
Dr. John Pearson is co-president in Oregon of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
John Pearson: “Just one day of this war could finance health care for a year for over 400,000 children. There are also about 40 million Americans without health care, and the sums expended on this war could provide for health care for all of them.”
After the protest, Senator Wyden's spokesman highlighted Wyden's consistent voting record against the war, including a recent appropriations bill.
Campbell says next Wednesday protestors will visit Congressman David Wu, and the following week Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Blumenauer already signed a letter pledging to vote against war funding.
The last Withdrawal Wednesday is September 19th, at Senator Gordon Smith's office.