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  • 24 Sep 2019 5:03 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

    Earlier today, executives from Major League Soccer conducted a teleconference call with leaders of the Independent Supporters Council and supporter groups for the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC to discuss the MLS Fan Code of Conduct.  MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott and leaders of the supporter groups provided the following statements after today’s call: 

    MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott Statement

    “After collaborative discussions with its fans, supporter groups, and clubs, Major League Soccer, the Independent Supporters Council, the 107 Independent Supporters Trust / Timbers Army, Emerald City Supporters, and Gorilla FC jointly announce the formation of a working group by MLS to review the League's Fan Code of Conduct to ensure clarity and consistency in advance of the 2020 season. This working group will include representatives from the League office and clubs and work collaboratively with leaders of club supporter groups and a cross-section of diversity and inclusion experts. As part of this decision to update the Fan Code of Conduct for 2020, MLS has suspended the prohibition on the Iron Front imagery at matches for the balance of the 2019 season and MLS Cup Playoffs while the working group conducts its analysis.” 

    Statement of Leaders of the Supporter Groups

    “The Independent Supporters Council and supporter groups for the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC acknowledge the League's willingness to discuss these complex issues, as well as the League's affirmation of its long-time opposition to racism, fascism, white supremacy, white nationalism and homophobia.  We appreciate Major League Soccer’s willingness to engage, listen, and learn. We look forward to continuing the dialogue, moving away from direct action in the stands on this issue, and instead focusing our energy on making progress around the table.”


  • 22 Sep 2019 9:47 AM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    What to expect today

    We’ll be doing the same as last week:

    • We will be silent through warm-ups, walkout, and kickoff.
    • We will start singing Bella Ciao at 3:30.
    • If you have a two-stick or banner, display it whenever you’d like.

    Remember to respect your fellow supporter. Everyone supports the team differently. We will not tolerate bullying or intimidation in the North End.

    FAQs

    Why are we still not doing more?

    This past Thursday (September 19) in Las Vegas, MLS met with representatives from the Timbers Army, other supporters’ groups, and the Independent Supporters Council to hear input about the current code of conduct.

    A statement from the 107IST representatives who attended:

    We feel that our meeting in Las Vegas with the league was very productive. We were well prepared and came with a lot of questions, and we learned a lot. We had a good discussion about the path toward reworking the code of conduct, and they listened to our input. MLS needed additional time with key stakeholders to finalize any agreements on our future partnership. We are encouraged by the dialogue and progress made, and we look forward to our meeting on Tuesday, September 24.

    On Tuesday, MLS and the attendees of the Las Vegas meeting will reconvene via a conference call to continue the discussion. Talks will include, among other things, MLS’s final decision on whether or not to suspend the Iron Front ban for the remainder of the season. As a continued display of trust and good faith during these ongoing talks, we are again holding back on larger-scale organized boycotts and protests today.

    Tuesday will be the final determination for our next steps.

    What can I do in the meantime?

    Keep up your individual protests. We are having an impact. Our voices have been heard by both our Front Office and MLS headquarters. Stories have appeared in local, national, and international press, — almost universally in favor of the supporters’ groups. But we still need to keep up the pressure.

    • Email feedback@mlssoccer.com to let them know your thoughts.
    • If you’ve already emailed your local ticket representative, continue to do so to remind them that this issue isn’t going away.
    • Continue the social media campaigns.
    • If you’ve been boycotting concessions, keep it up (and consider donating that money to the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund).
    • Contact your local and state elected officials to ask for their support for the Iron Front campaign. Every level of elected office in Portland and Oregon should take a public stand.
    • Talk to those around you in the stands and in the community about why this matters.
  • 18 Sep 2019 4:40 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    What to expect tonight

    This week, we continue the focus on solidarity ahead of our meeting with MLS on tomorrow. Supporters’ groups around the league are continuing to stand together against the MLS Fan Code of Conduct and the ban of the Iron Front symbol. This past Sunday saw several supporters’ groups experience consequences for protest activities, with one SG responding with a walkout. As with last weekend:

    • We will be silent through warmups, walkout, and kickoff.
    • We will begin singing Bella Ciao at 3:30.
    • If you have a two-stick or banner, display it whenever you’d like.

    Remember to respect your fellow supporter. Everyone supports the team differently. We will not tolerate bullying or intimidation in the North End.

    If you choose not to protest, or don’t know what’s going on, understand that this is an important issue for many people who surround you. We encourage you to learn more about what this is about, and then consider joining us. The more we work together, the louder our voice is, enabling us to affect change with the league. Visit timbersarmy.org/codeofconduct to learn more.

    FAQs

    We only have a few games left! Why aren’t we doing more?

    Tomorrow (September 19), MLS will meet with representatives from the Timbers Army, other supporters’ groups, and the Independent Supporters Council in Las Vegas to hear input about the current code of conduct.

    In calling for a face-to-face meeting, the expectation is that our Front Office and MLS are operating in good faith. Supporters group leaders are flying thousands of miles just for this meeting — and we expect our Front Office and MLS to come to the table with an open mind and willingness to understand the importance of this issue. We also expect them to consider substantive changes to the unacceptable Iron Front ban. As a show of good faith on the eve of the meeting, we are holding back on larger-scale boycotts and protests. We have instead focused on targeted actions that keep the conversation going.

    We will know more about the results of this meeting on Friday. If we do not make progress (or even if we do), you will be hearing from us on Friday about next steps.

    What can I do in the meantime?

    Keep up your protests. We are having an impact. Our voices have been heard by both our Front Office and MLS headquarters. Stories have appeared in local, national, and international press, — almost universally in favor of the supporters’ groups. But we still need to keep up the pressure.

    • Email feedback@mlssoccer.com to let them know your thoughts.
    • If you’ve already emailed your local ticket representative, continue to do so to remind them that this issue isn’t going away.
    • Continue the social media campaigns.
    • If you’ve been boycotting concessions, keep it up (and consider donating that money to the Gisele Currier Scholarship Fund).
    • Contact your local and state elected officials to ask for their support for the Iron Front campaign. Every level of elected office in Portland and Oregon should take a public stand.
    • Talk to those around you in the stands and in the community about why this matters.
  • 11 Sep 2019 3:15 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a press release we sent out earlier today.

    We appreciate everyone who has supported and reached out to us through this process, especially given the often frustrating vagueness of our communications. This process has obviously been extremely sensitive, and we've had to exercise a great deal of discretion in terms of what we communicate and when in order to bring all parties to the table. Please know that you are the reason this is Soccer City USA, and the 107IST board is working tirelessly to find a resolution to this issue.

    Timbers Army Announce Meeting with Portland Timbers and Upcoming Meeting with MLS on Fan Code of Conduct

    Last night, September 10, the board of directors of the 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine behind the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, met with members of the Portland Timbers front office to discuss revising Major League Soccer’s fan code of conduct and the ban of the Iron Front symbol. In addition, representatives from Western States Center, the Oregon chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Oregon), and several representatives from the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, where the meeting took place, were invited to the meeting to share their professional insights on the issue and their personal experiences.

    In the meeting, the community representatives provided input on the Iron Front imagery, its history, what it represents today, what it means to them personally as often-targeted members of the community, and offered suggestions for going forward. The Timbers Front Office was very receptive to the discussion and the input from the community members.

    In addition, the Portland Timbers Front Office has advocated for the Timbers Army/107IST, Seattle’s Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC, and the Independent Supporters Council to meet with MLS representatives in Las Vegas to discuss the issue directly with league personnel, including MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott. This meeting will occur on September 19, 2019.

    The Timbers Army/107IST sincerely hopes that these meetings will move the league closer to revising the code of conduct in a way that makes it truly inclusive for all by consulting with impacted groups and human rights experts.

  • 05 Sep 2019 12:14 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

    [Portland, Oregon, 9/5/19] The 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the nonprofit engine behind the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, stands in protest of Major League Soccer’s decision to issue three-game bans to multiple individuals who displayed flags bearing the Iron Front image last Saturday, August 31, at Providence Park. We disagree with the League’s stance, with its misapplication of the Fan Code of Conduct, and with its failure to consult with human rights experts in the Code’s creation.

    The League’s action is particularly disappointing in the wake of recent progress the 107IST has made with the Portland Timbers Front Office on these issues. We are happy to confirm that members of Front Office have agreed to meet with us next week, along with several social justice organizations that specialize in protecting marginalized communities in Oregon. We welcome a discussion of the bans, as well as the larger issues we are concerned about — namely, how to ensure that the stadium and the streets are safe and welcoming for marginalized groups.

    In protest of the League’s decision, the Timbers Army will fly no flags of any sort or deploy any smoke for goal celebrations this Saturday. Our focus this weekend will be on education. We will use banners with words instead of symbols to remind the world of our unwavering opposition to fascism and to discrimination. We will increase our written communication, both inside the stadium and online, about the reasons for our protest and the larger issues that the Iron Front flag ban represents. We will continue to fight for the League to lift the bans for individuals who displayed Iron Front flags and banners on August 31.

    We will continue to insist that the League change its policy regarding the Iron Front image, that the word “political” be removed from the Fan Code of Conduct, and that the League consult with marginalized groups, representatives of supporter groups, and experts in human rights to create a fan code of conduct that is inclusive and anti-discriminatory.

    We want to make something very clear: Our fight is not a fight with the Portland Timbers. Our fight is against white nationalists, white supremacists, and others that seek to bring hate and violence to our stadium, city, state, and country. In this moment of darkness, we feel obliged to rally to make the soccer community the inclusive place that the world isn’t for so many of our marginalized communities here in Portland. We look forward to working with the Portland Timbers Front Office in this fight for our community.

  • 04 Sep 2019 7:43 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    It’s been a rocky season. Between the compressed schedule, the team’s up and down performance, and a number of controversial issues, a lot of people understandably are feeling heightened tensions and emotions.

    We also have an influx of new supporters in the North End, which we knew would happen with the recent expansion. The combination of these two things means that some fans may be discovering the club just as it’s in the midst of a somewhat tempestuous period of change and growth. It also means that some supporters may want to support the teams in ways that feel best for them or to their best capability.

    Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, we’ve heard reports of people in the North End feeling bullied or intimidated by those around them for supporting in ways that others have disagreed with. We want to make it clear that these actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This is not “radically inclusive,” and it is not “If you want to be TA/Riveters, then you already are.”

    Our hope is that people can remember when they, too, were new to the North End and the feelings they felt when they first experienced the joy and the passion of the Timbers Army and/or Rose City Riveters.

    The stadium expansion gives us an opportunity to welcome new faces into the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters family — as well as connect with long-time supporters we maybe haven’t met before. We need to make sure we’re encouraging and educating everyone in a positive way. This means answering questions, making sure they have chant sheets, and remembering to — as Timber Jim would say — Spread the Love. 

  • 29 Aug 2019 3:22 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

    A statement on behalf of the 107IST board of directors

    The 107IST board met with representatives of the Timbers and Thorns front office on Tuesday, August 27th, to discuss:

    • Our ongoing concerns with the ban on flying the iron front flag;

    • Our concerns with the inclusion of the word “political” in MLS’s fan code of conduct; and

    • Our request that the league consult with supporters, representatives from marginalized groups, and with experts in human rights to craft a fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.


    No sanctions will be levied against individuals who flew or held up iron front flags or banners at Providence Park during last Friday’s Cascadia Cup match or at the Thorns match on Sunday (the Timbers/Thorns front office have instead decided to issue a general warning).

    The discussions were productive, and will be ongoing. In addition, MLS has committed to meeting with representatives from the Independent Supporters Council in the near future to discuss the Fan Code of Conduct and specifically supporters' concerns with the inclusion of the word “political” and the banning of the Iron Front symbol.

    While we are encouraged by the commitment of the Timbers/Thorns front office and the league to work with us on finding a path to move forward, our position remains unchanged:

    • Lift the ban on the display of iron front imagery on flags and banners

    • Remove the word “political” from the fan code of conduct

    • Consult with marginalized groups and experts in the field of human rights to construct a fan code of conduct that supports radical inclusion and opposes discrimination

    We want to thank our members and everyone in the greater soccer community for their support - it was clear that our message has been heard loud and clear both by the Timbers/Thorns front office and MLS, and we have shown that the supporters are a force to be reckoned with. We ask that you continue to message the front office with your concerns about the Fan Code of Conduct.

    We are coming together as a city, collectively, just as we have done in the past, to say no to hate. Let’s do this, Portland.



  • 28 Aug 2019 4:14 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a post by Cody Goldberg, Founder and Executive Director of Harper's Playground.

    I’m delighted and honored to shed some light on the subject of this year’s edition of our annual Spread the Love scarf.

    First, as always, a little brief history: I met Jim Serrill back in 2010. He had driven to what is now the site of our first Harper’s Playground to meet Harper and me. He had a check in his hand for $3,500. The money was supposed to go towards an accessible tree house. I still owe Jim one of those. Anyone want to help?

    Anyway... 

    Back to the scarf. Those $3,500 had been raised through sales of a special scarf. Many of you reading these words likely own one of those Spread the Love scarves and most certainly many of you have a large collection of some of them: The Red Sweater Project, Street Roots, or Meals On Wheels. These were some of our most recent.

    This year’s scarf is especially important, however: It’s going to build another playground in our radically inclusive design model. It’s also going to help a family who, like mine, started out on a mission much larger than they could imagine. My wife and I were motivated in large part through a personal need to so something, anything, with the enormous emotions of our journey into parenthood. Susan and Tom Robinson are also motivated from a deeply personal place. Here are my best words to help people understand:

    Anna & Abby are two girls who loved life and have a wonderful family. While their time as we understand is was short on this physical plane, their parents are determined to see to it that those short physical lives are remembered for what they were: beautiful manifestations of love and joy. Because my wife and I were motivated to make a change, and because we received so much help along the way, we are extra eager to help when a playground project is connected with a family on a mission. This is just such a case.

    The Timbers Army has been one of the greatest forces for good in our community and well beyond. We do so much for so many, and it looks like the need for our work is greater now that it has ever been. These beautiful scarves — and this year’s is by far the most wonderful design ever — are a reminder of the good we can do, and the power of remaining hopeful, joyful and yes, of spreading the love.

  • 20 Aug 2019 10:46 AM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a statement on behalf of the 107IST board of directors.

    As many of you have seen, the Timbers Front Office issued a statement about their ban of the Iron Front symbol at Timbers, Thorns, and T2 matches. We would like to address some of the points in the statement.

    • Yesterday’s statement from the Front Office comes directly on the heels of one of the most upsetting weekends in recent memory for many of our members — a weekend where avowed white nationalist demonstrators descended on Portland, many of whom had publicly called for violence. The timing is puzzling to say the least and damning at the worst.
    • When discussions about the Iron Front image started, we repeatedly asked the Front Office for a public statement, but we could not get anything in writing. Finally, with the first home match looming, we effectively had to force the FO to put together something we could share with our members
    • If the Iron Front flag ban is an MLS policy, we have never seen any kind of official document from MLS stating this, and, once again, the most recent statement about it appears courtesy of the Timbers Front Office — in fact, the only “official” statements have been from the Timbers and Sounders front offices. The Seattle statement, in particular, included additional information that was not shared with us by our own Front Office or by the league.
    • The 107IST board has been working with the Independent Supporters Council (ISC), who have been attempting to engage in a dialogue with MLS headquarters on these issues since January.
    • The Timbers Front Office continues to use the word “dialogue” around the Iron Front situation, but this is an incorrect word. This policy and any associated actions have been unilaterally dictated to the 107IST board by the Front Office. Any “dialogue” at our meetings with them has been met with vague replies such as “We will continue this discussion later” or “Thank you for the input, but the league’s policy on this stands.”
    • The Timbers Front Office continues to maintain that they have received much support for the ban, but they have shared no metrics and few details. At the time of this writing, the 107IST board has received more than 50 copies of emails to the Front Office opposing the ban, and 0 emails supporting the ban. We recognize that we are likely to hear from only a subset of supporters, but these are the only metrics we have on letters to the Front Office, and they are wholly at odds with what they say they are hearing. Most importantly, however, some decisions are beyond metrics: Deciding when and whether to stand up for human rights and inclusion should not be subject to email and phone call ratios.
    • The 107IST board has expressed in no uncertain terms that not only do we disagree with the implementation of this policy, we also disagree with what it represents at a more basic level: the ability to arbitrarily, unilaterally, and subjectively interpret symbols and ideas as “political,” something we've already seen happening across the league in recent weeks. This is especially worrisome with clubs and ownership in MLS who refuse to even acknowledge Pride Nights by claiming they are “too political.” Our Front Office has acknowledged that the policy is fluid, open to interpretation, and has the potential to change.
    • We are frankly appalled that the Timbers Front Office has repeatedly attempted to conflate their support for marriage equality five years ago with the issues discussed of late, apparently to somehow buy back goodwill for their position. The support of basic human rights should not be used to attempt to gain points in the court of public opinion — it’s the bare minimum to which we should hold our institutions accountable.

    The MLS Fan Code of Conduct was envisioned to bring about clarity, specifically with respect to equal treatment of supporters across the many clubs in MLS. The implementation of that has been anything but, showing that clubs (for example, Columbus, Atlanta, Chicago, and LA) can — and will — interpret the rules however they see fit, with supporters paying the price.

    As our city, county, and state governments join with community organizations and the business community to make it clear that hate is not welcome here, we are disappointed that our Front Office is not a part of these efforts. While they continually reiterate that they share our ethos of acceptance and against hate, we have continually left the door open for them to do the right thing in this situation. That door is still open.

    The 107IST board remains committed to asking MLS and the Timbers Front Office to rescind the subjective ban on “political displays” and come together with supporters and human rights experts to enact a Fan Code of Conduct that protects the game we love, as well as the supporters who make it unique.

  • 01 Aug 2019 5:33 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a joint statement released to the ISC today.
    -----
    The 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine that fuels the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, joins with our Seattle rivals, the Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC, in calling for the following outcomes:

    • MLS rescinds its ban on flying the iron front flag.
    • MLS removes the word "political" from its fan code of conduct as it is inherently arbitrary.
    • MLS works with international experts on human rights to craft language in the fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.

    To that end, we're asking for other supporter groups to demonstrate their support with the following call to action:

    • Pump up the volume on this issue by demonstrating your support visually with iron front images on clothing (T-shirts, large patches, and the like) at matches in your stadium.
    • Call your team's front office and/or MLS headquarters to voice your opposition to the current MLS policy regarding political displays in general and the iron front flag in particular.
    • As supporter groups, voice your support either in calls, letters, or social media for the three objectives listed above.

    Sherrilynn "Sheba" Rawson, on behalf of 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine behind the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters

    Tom Biro and Shawn Wheeler, on behalf of Emerald City Supporters

    Tom Conquergood, on behalf of Gorilla FC

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