It didn’t have to be this way, Bullseye

  • Bullseye Glass in SE Portland

I want Bullseye employees, glass enthusiasts, and business owners in the community to understand that it didn’t have to be like this. When I first met with neighbors in that apartment building community room back in February, I don’t remember a single one saying that they wanted Bullseye to go; and it wasn’t just lax regulations, but also a series of horrible choices on the part of the Bullseye owners that brought us to the point that we’re at now.

I was looking through old messages and emails a couple of weeks ago and found some vaguely distraught communications from members of the affected community who had been invited by Bullseye owners to sit down in a meeting with the DEQ, and when they showed up (in a group of two or three, mind you), after spending days preparing, they were told by Dan’s receptionist that there was no meeting. They stood in the office and called DEQ, and were told that the meeting was private. Baffled, exhausted, defeated, confused, they left and went home to their sick families with their questions unanswered.

Three months ago, when they asked what other colorants Bullseye was using, they were promised answers – “Oh, of course. We’ll get back to you by Thursday” – and then had the questions they posed in calls and emails go unanswered for weeks.

In this response, Bullseye criticizes the DEQ for spending 12 hours preparing legal documents and planning for a press conference instead of going to them directly. How does that compare to Bullseye’s decision to hire Chris Edmonds, PR dipshit extraordinaire, to paint the affected community members as insane, frenzied sensationalists, even comparing them to “Donald Trump fans” rather than returning a phone call? The only positive decision that Chris Edmonds has made since this whole thing started was editing his blog post – the one about the idiocy of social media networking for social causes – to seem like it was written about rideshare apps rather than the EPAC Facebook group.

They criticize the state for cancelling their meeting that was scheduled for today, where they were going to talk about what to do moving forward. In response to that criticism, I’d like to ask why community leaders didn’t know about the meeting until they read this blog post?


Photo by Mark Colman.  Protest signs held by protesters: Filters Now, Put a Bag On It, and child’s drawing of Bullseye polluting with a “not allowed” symbol over it.

The reason that nobody trusts Bullseye, and the reason that the state couldn’t just pick up the phone and call (even though they’ve “tried to be a model of how a business can work with DEQ”), is that they’ve given the community every possible reason to distrust them; and they don’t seem to understand that the government works for the people, not visa versa.

I have a good friend who is being laid off from Bullseye. I’ve been organizing with a woman who hasn’t had childcare for several weeks because after learning what she did about Bullseye’s operations, she couldn’t keep her son in that contaminated daycare. Trust me, this is not what we wanted all along. Even the victories that we’ve won have felt somewhat shallow, and I think it’s because we will forever trust people a little less than we did before we started interacting with Bullseye.

Let’s be very clear. This isn’t because of some hysterical moms. This isn’t because the state is picking on Bullseye. The path that this struggle has followed was shaped by the irreparably poor choices made by the owners of Bullseye in how they would run their business and interact with their neighbors.

I guess they still have an opportunity to do the right thing – finance their fucking castle in Scotland and at least give their employees a decent severance pay.

This post is a response to Bullseye Glass Company’s most recent media release.