Protest signs outnumbered protesters at a small but determined anti-Walmart demonstration in Corvallis on Friday evening.
Only four activists answered the call on the No Walmart in Corvallis! site on Facebook to demonstrate from 5 to 6 p.m. in the 1800 block of Northwest Ninth Street, where the world’s largest retailer is building a Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store in the CCC Plaza.
But they used their creativity to make the most of their limited numbers, planting lawn signs in a strip of roadside grass, hanging a placard on a construction fence and taping an anti-Walmart message to the back of a “Now Hiring” sign for Buffalo Wild Wings, which is building a sports bar in the new shopping center.
The protest came a week ahead of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the kickoff to an annual frenzy of holiday shopping. That’s also the day many Walmart workers across the country are threatening to walk off the job to strike for better working conditions.
“We want to show solidarity with Walmart workers,” said Jenny Saarloos, who helped to organize a similar but much better attended protest at the same location in August.
More than 200 people have signed onto Saarloos’ Facebook page, but only a handful were willing to turn out in the chilly dusk Friday.
Still, those happy few did their best to get their message across. Two protesters displayed a large banner that said “Support Striking Walmart Workers Black Friday,” each one clutching an end with one hand while waving a “Boycott Walmart” sign with the other.
Bart Bolger used a strobe light feature on his smart phone to draw attention to his hand-lettered protest sign, which said “No to Walmart.”
“We’re going to get larger, I promise,” he said, as passing motorists tooted encouragement with their horns.
Saarloos acknowledged the turnout was low, but she said that wasn’t really the point.
“People are demonstrating all over the country,” she said, “and we wanted to show some sort of solidarity.”
Contact reporter Bennett Hall at email@example.com or 541-758-9529.