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U.S. Defenders Take Oregon Motorcycle Rights to the StreetsTim King and Bonnie King Salem-News.com
The majority of the bikers are American military veterans.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Police cars shadowed Oregon motorcyclists Saturday who rode together as part of a program called U.S. Defenders, designed to help establish the rights of motorcycle riding club members in the United States.
They rode in solidarity - to protest local businesses that deny club members service. Numerous clubs were represented.
The group of approximately sixty bikers from a number of different clubs, members of Free Souls MC, Gypsy Joker MC, In Country Vietnam MC, Sons of God MC, Road Brother MC, The Outsiders MC, Wildish MC, Wind & Fire MC, Christ's Disciples MC, Northwest Veterans MC, and possibly others.
M. Christian Bottoms is a member of the Outsiders MC and also an Oregon attorney. With his help, the riders are taking a political approach to the matter and will consider taking legal action against establishments that violate their legal rights.
One establishment known for turning away club members, the Fifty Club in West Salem, Oregon, served one club member, Tattoo Mike of the Gypsy Joker MC Club, but refused to serve others who entered afterward.
The riders left a copy of the U.S. Constitution at each business they visited, making the day politically educational for a number of employees, who work for business that restrict bikers for wearing colors, the way the old south used to restrict people for being of color.
The next stop for the riders was the Front Street Inn in Salem, where things went a little smoother. There was a bit of an old west showdown before it was over, and a lot of police presence.
In fact, even though the bikers said they were doing everything possible to ride legally and simply assert their rights as Americans, police cars literally rolled onto the scene with the motorcycles.
The Front Street bar posts a sign outside stating they do not allow club members, including Oregon firefighters on this ride, who wear patches and ride Harleys.
Local bar patrons exchanged greetings with the bikers and took in the sights, American motorcycles that each in their own way, helped the U.S. economy and workers when it was manufactured in Milwaukie, Wisconsin. The patrons I spoke to had no problem with the riders.
One man said his wife was a bartender for thirty years, and she never had big problems with bikers. Rednecks, he said - from what his wife told him over the years - are a far bigger problem than bikers in bars.
Being able to buy soft drinks in The Front Street Inn was a victory for these riders. The bartender, Suzie, told me that there were no problems.
Some toasted soft drinks, nearly all of them paid five dollars for each one, reminding the establishment that bikers mean money in their cash registers.
But outside, all the good camaraderie wasn't helping the growing police presence. Four cars were parked around the bar, and one was in the parking lot. That officer left after a few minutes because he received another call.
Soon one officer known for sporting gloves and paying a lot of attention to local bikers, broke out his video camera, and stepped into an open square, the video shootout was on.
The officer was faced by a member of the Sons of God Christian Motorcycle Club.
Who would hold the shot longer?
You'll have to watch the video to learn the surprise conclusion, just think OK Corral.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting.
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King
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