[NOTE: It was claimed by Scientology that 40,000 members attended this Religious Freedom Crusade or Portland Crusade. This does not seem to have been what actually happened though. Ted Mayett, August 2004]
Religious Freedom Crusade or Portland Crusade
From: Anonymous <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Portland crusade
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 19:38:50 +0100
TRAVOLTA JOINS PROTEST OF SCIENTOLOGY RULING
May 21, 1985
From Chicago Tribune wires
Hundreds of Church of Scientology members, buoyed by support from actor John Travolta and other celebrities, threw a picket line around the courthouse Monday to protest a $39 million fraud judgment against the church.
The pickets walked briskly around the Multnomah County Courthouse, a nearby park and an office building, chanting "Religious Freedom Now." They marched two and three abreast in a line that stretched more than eight city blocks.
Travolta joined more than 2,000 church supporters who began gathering in Portland Sunday in a "crusade for religious freedom" to protest the judgment won by a former Scientologist who left the church.
The actor flew to Portland shortly before midnight and left town about 1:30 a.m.
Travolta, star of hit films such as "Saturday Night Fever" and "Urban Cowboy," told a news conference: "I've been a Scientologist for 10 years now. I receive counseling and I give counseling. I feel it's time to stand up for what I believe in, and I certainly believe in Scientology."
Casually dressed and sporting several days' growth of beard, Travolta took a break from a promotional tour for the movie "Perfect" to come to Portland in a private plane.
The church members were protesting a jury's damage award in the retrial of a suit brought by ex-church member Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, 27, of Portland.
Folk singer Melanie, a Scientologist, and Frank Stallone, brother of actor Sylvester Stallone, sang to the crowd from a stage dominated by two large photographs of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the church in the late 1950s and who dropped from public view five years ago.
Officials said thousands more protesters were on their way by car, bus, train and plane to attend a series of vigils, demonstrations and rallies expected to last for several days.
Titchbourne was awarded what is believed to be the largest punitive damage award in Oregon history Friday when a county Circuit Court jury decided the church made fraudulent misrepresentations to her when she was a member. She said they claimed Scientology would improve her study habits and eyesight.
In 1979, a jury awarded $2 million in damages in the case, but the judgment was overturned three years later by the Oregon Court of Appeals.
Church officials vowed another appeal of the latest judgment if Circuit Judge Donald Londer, who presided at the trial, does not overturn it.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought there would be this kind of an assault on the 1st Amendment," Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said Sunday night.
Londer "has a duty to protect religious liberty" by overturning the ruling, said Jentzsch.
Jentzsch repeated the church's longstanding claims that officials of the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies were conspiring to destroy the church.
From: email@example.com (Geoff Burling)
Subject: Re: Question about Portland Oregon Date: 1996/11/28
If the Chicago Trubune meant that there were 2,000 CoS members assembled in the entire city of Portland, this might be correct.
If they meant that 2,000 people were assembled in that tiny park, I sincerely doubt this.
Said park takes up a downtown Portland city block - about 200 feet each side, for a maximum of 40,000 sqf (square feet). Remove from this block about 15 feet on each side for the sidewalk,&a chain that acts as a fence,&the maximum area the people can fit into is 170 feet to a side - 28,900 sqf. Further, there is a public bathroom on this block, with bushes around it, about 20 x 40 feet, so remove another 800 sqf for a new total of 28,100 sqf. And then there are about two dozen large elm trees on this block, a number of park benches&so forth. For sake of keeping this simple, let's deduct 10% from this reduced number for a total protest area of about 25,000 sqf.
Now, I remember passing this park about that time on my way to work (just before 800am),&saw the demonstration. I'd say that the protest occupied between two-thirds&three quarters of the area - 16,700 to 18,750 sqf. If one thousand people were assembled in this space, each would have about 19 square feet to stand in - a little more than four- & -aquarter feet to a side. Two thousand would reduce it to less than 10 square feet, or slightly more than three feet to a side. People packed less than three feet apart are quite close together,&if memory serves me right, these folks weren't that close together (I'd say it was not less than four feet apart). So one thousand to 1,500 would be a more accurate number.
Besides, someone had to go thru town&steal all of those copies of Willamette Week&the critical books from the Multnomah County Library.