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 bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9529.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com.

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

(6) comments

Austin
Austin

What a bunch of loons! To those clowns who walk off the job on Friday—it’s called quitting! See ya later, goodbye. Hey, Bart! Your iPhone was made in China—hypocrite.

Bytheway

What a waste of time! Go find something constructive to do. How about volunteering to clean up the homeless camp? I look forward to shopping at the new Walmart!

Bart

I support the Walmart workers to have better conditions. Sad that I couldn't be there last night and support the effort. Thank you for your efforts and bringing attention to the actual realities of business practices. Keep up the good work!

curious one

Well, Bytheway and Austin, as usual this went right over your heads as most things do. If you cared to check, you'd find that where Wallmart goes so go costs to local residents because the workers get few benefits and low salaries, and then have to depend on things provided by local and national taxpayers - you remember all those "handouts" people like you two complain about! Maybe BTW you could follow your own advice and stop wasting space here and go volunteer to clean up a homeless camp. Maybe you would even learn something - uh well, some would.

peppertree

We live in a democracy and it's perfectly legal for Walmart to build a store here. Personally, I don't plan to shop there and I believe if this community really doesn't want a Walmart in Corvallis, the most effective protest is to simply not shop there. Voting with your wallet is the only way those who run Walmart will actually pay attention to your protests.

DBG

That is so silly!

"Workers get few benefits and low salaries, and then have to depend on things provided by local and national taxpayers."

Are you saying that Dollar Tree, Kmart, Michael's, The Co-op, Grocery Outlet, Ross, etc. offer high wages, health and dental benefits, and 401k's? I doubt it... Do you actually think employees from those companies do not every need assistance from our government? I doubt it... Why does everyone expect Walmart to offer things that MOST other businesses don't?

I can't wait for Walmart to come to town, as the majority of my friends are. If you don't like Walmart - don't shop there.

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