After the Arrests:  The Fairhaven Eight



Morgan Block in background, left.
Photo courtesy Ken Imus
 

 

December 1, 1972

Bellingham Herald

Ten plead innocent to trespass after scuffle at Southside garden

By Bill Ellingson, Herald Staff Reporter

Ten demonstrators were arrested and about 100 others were scattered as protesters and police clashed yesterday in a protest over the clearing of a plot of ground owned by Ken Imus, Sunnyvale, Calif.   The ten were arrested on charges of criminal trespass, obstructing a sidewalk and obstructing police officers.

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Two of the ten protestors arrested were released.  The rest were known as the "Fairhaven Eight".

 
 
 What Happened?
 
The following is an excerpt of a 2001 Whatcom Watch Article by Ken Wilcox.   All items in parentheses and italics have been added for clarification.


In 1972, "Fairhaven was bustling with hippie entrepreneurs,” said John Servais. (former owner of fairhaven.com).   "(Ken) Imus basically forced them out. They didn’t fit his vision.” Some persevered, others gave up, pissed off that some rich guy could shake up a community like that. When a bulldozer arrived one day, unannounced, to clear out the community garden, the gardeners peaceably resisted, claiming that they still had a valid lease with the former property owner.
 
Gardeners Hauled to Jail
 
The gardeners insisted that they should at least be allowed to collect the plants and produce they had cultivated. Instead, they were promptly arrested, charged with trespassing, and hauled away by the Bellingham Police Department on a rented city bus. One witness later recalled someone (John Blethen) racing down the street with a wheelbarrow to salvage some of the rich topsoil.
 
Attorneys Dean Brett and Larry Daugert may have watched the situation unfold from their office above Tony’s, (Terminal Building) then offered to defend the gardeners—or the "Fairhaven Eight” as they would later be remembered. Jay Taber, one of those arrested, imagined the young attorneys looking out the window exclaiming "Clients!” Someone managed to locate a black-and-white video camcorder and filmed the incident from the Terminal Building [above Tony’s].
 
Taber said that the police were a bit rough with some of the garden defenders, although in hindsight, "it wasn’t really that big of a deal.” Eight young men were hauled to jail, while one gardener was rather miffed that the police refused to arrest her just because she was a woman.
 
In court, the police implied to the judge that some kind of mini-riot had taken place, said Taber. The defendants brought in a logic expert from the university to prove that the police story was false. He added, "I remember the judge saying something like ‘That’s all very nice, but I’m not interested in logic!’”