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Tillamook Cheese

May 31, 2008

I was reading Portland IndyMedia and this story about Tillamook caught my attention, since that is where I’m from (I know, scary!). Even though I am a vegan now, I have consumed enough Tillamook cheese in my life to fill a house. I was prompted to fill out a comment at the Tillamook Cheese website, and hope that some of you will do the same. Even though you may not even eat cheese, what they did to this farmer was wrong, and all too “normal” in Tillamook. Here’s what I wrote:

As someone who was born and raised in Tillamook, I have always eaten Tillamook products and felt proud in doing so (my grandmother even worked at “The Factory”, as a fudgemaker for many years), however the recent “letting go” of Xavier Avila from the co-op has prompted me to boycott Tillamook products, and to spread the word to my family and friends. Being from Tillamook, I am well aware of the good ol’ boys system** that allows for abuse of all kinds, including sexual, to go unpunished, and I will not support this system in any way. Mr Xavier Avila was behaving how any man SHOULD behave in defending women and their safety. His firing is unjust and saddens me deeply.

Sorry, but that really fired me up. I am so happy that there are men like Mr. Avila who speak out against injustice, even though I realize he makes his living by exploiting animals. Perhaps this situation will open his eyes to other forms of oppression, and he will see his cows as slaves, eventually becoming a veg*n himself…well, maybe. We can all hope!

**I could seriously write a fucking book on the sick shit that goes on in Tillamook, and some day I just might…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Louise Castelanelli permalink
    June 2, 2008 9:53 am

    I appreciate your sentiment, but unfortunately you do not have the facts in this case. Because there was pending litigation at the time the interview was done, board members were asked to refrain from comment. Trust me when I tell you there is no truth to the sexual harrassment charge and you will find just about no one in this county who has any sympathy for Liz Classen. Incidentally, she is currently being investigated for insurance fraud for claiming the loss of 60 cows in a flood (that didnt happen either). I am not a “good ol boy” I am a female who would generally always support a woman’s claims like this. It infuriates me when situations like this arrise because it discredits women’s legitimate claims. As to Avila, while I will not discredit his dairy record, you need to know that the only milked dumped at his farm was for that camera. He was paid for every pound produced during the 60 days after he was given notice. The “pervert” as you referred to him was with the CEO of the creamery when Avila physically threatened them. Avila was given ample opportunity to make amends for that incident but refused to apologize leading to his dismissal. I will not miss him and neither will most other dairy people here. Please try to hear two sides of a story before making a judgment. A lot of good dairy families will suffer for the actions of a few bad seeds.

  2. June 2, 2008 10:14 am

    I also appreciate your comment and viewpoint, however, please tell me where I called Bryan Gibson a “pervert.” Perhaps you are referring to the IndyMedia article, which I did not write. I’d also like to know how you know that there is no basis to the charge, unless you were there. I realize that I wasn’t there either, but it seems rather fishy that Mr. Avila was let go for no apparent reason (i.e. quality of milk), other than telling this guy to get the hell off his property. I frankly don’t give a hoot that Gibson was the CEO at the time, as if that makes it impossible to commit crime or something? Like I said, I lived in Tillamook for a long time and have seen how people are protected because they are well-respected in the community, as if they are somehow infallible human beings. I’ll be interested to read any updates that come out in the future.

  3. June 4, 2008 5:47 pm

    Hello Iam Xavier Avila. I would like to responed to louise.”you will find just about no one in this county who has any sympathy for Liz Classen” Wow I think this proves Louise supports the good ole boys , doesn’t she. lis is loved by many, by the way.”investigated for insurance” Thats not true but she was denied her money because Gibson claimed Liz did not lose any cows even though he has thr dead cow truck records that show Liz is telling the truth.I did not only dump milk on my farm for the camera. I did in fact dump milk for months ,anyway how would Louise know ether way she was never on my farm to see was she.I did not “physically threatened” Gibson he even said so. Louise does not care about anybody but herself.

  4. Teri Franco permalink
    June 18, 2008 6:23 pm

    Hello friends. I can’t say I have sympathy for Liz, that would be saying “I feel sorry for Liz”. I have nothing bad to say about Liz. Actually I have the following to say about her.
    I know Liz Classen. I know Liz is a very hard working person, a mother, a business person, a very busy person who minds her own.
    I can say “I empathize with her”. The things that I have read and heard, being said about her are detrimental, demeaning, negative, harsh, sharp, not nice, untrue, low, a total waste of time.
    I can empathize with Liz, because she is being judged.
    For whatever reasons she is being judged, YOU,
    and I’ ll quote what you wrote:
    “you will find just about no one in this county who has any sympathy for Liz Classen”. I live in this County and yes, I would have a great amount of sympathy for her if I were suffering her experiences, but you see I am not, therefore I can only empathize. I wish the best for her, she deserves it.
    I had the opportunity to meet her, it was a nice moment. I gave her a chance to be who she is, just like I do with every new person I meet. You might want to try the same, you may find it
    difficult to do, especially if your judgmental, but see when
    “you see things as they are and not things as we are”
    you take off the burden of being negative and judgemental
    like yourself first, and let the rest come.

  5. Teri Franco permalink
    June 19, 2008 5:25 pm

    The quote should read:

    We don’t see things as they are
    We see things as we are.

    A reflection of ourselves. Bad or Good.
    do your math.

    As for Xavier Avila and his family too many nice things to say about them, just a big THANKS FOR EVERYTHING Xavier.
    You really are good people, Tillamook lost a great family.
    For years you have demonstrated great deeds by doing nice things for people, without expecting anything in return.
    I witnessed it, my whole family knows it, We will never forget those little things people don’t appreciate, too many to jot down. You all are missed. Hope to see you soon.

  6. Cindy Lee permalink
    June 25, 2008 5:16 pm

    Louise? Uh, Louise? “The flood that didn’t happen…?” Tee hee! What kind of legal (or illegal) substances have you been taking?

    “…discredits women’s legitimate claims…” A woman’s right to be free from sexual harassment isn’t legitimate? Hmmmm… Let’s suppose this Pervert Bryan Gibson continued down the road…both literally and figuratively? Didn’t just harass her, but went on to rape her when she was most vulnerable. Think on that. If you don’t stop a pervert at harassment, don’t ya’ think the problem might escalate? By the way, who the hell cares if the CEO was with this sick bastard or not? Think that would stop a Bryan Gibson? Think again, and get a grip!

    Thank GOD there are still men around like this neighbor, Xavier Avila, to keep the Bryan Gibson’s away. I sure hope people like you haven’t chased all of his type out of this county. You never knowwhich woman may need their help one day – it could be me; it could even be you!

    “…good dairy families will suffer from a few bad seeds…” This statement by you is extremely accurate. Get your head out from between your legs and do a little self-reflection. By your inappropriate comments, it is pretty obvious that YOU may be the bad seed.

    It sounds like you were another notch on Bryan Gibson’s “boomerang.” Would it be possible that there is a little “woman scorned” attitude here?

  7. Tillamook Escapee permalink
    November 9, 2009 10:09 am

    Thanks for clearing that up, Xavier. It sounds as if Louise was spinning the story in an effort protect the Tillamook Cheese Factory’s interests.

    From what I’ve experienced, the Tillamook Cheese Factory does not care about crime victim’s rights. In Tillamook, it’s either “Put up and shut up” or they’ll run you out of town. I’m also a victim of the unwritten rules of the “Tillamook Good Ole Boy’s Club”. Two men who tried to help me with my stalking problem lost their jobs immediately.

    My stalker is still actively harassing me by sending threats through acquaintances, even though I left town in an attempt to protect myself. The last threat involved his teenage sons. Supposedly, they plan to take care of me for their father. The teenager’s father told them that they wouldn’t get in as much trouble because they are minors.

    The Tillamook Cheese Factory has caused Tillamook County to become a very dangerous place. They not only allow stalking and harassment on the job and in the community, but they also groom their managers to pressure victims into submitting and black-balling other employees who try to give victims any assistance.

    This group needs to be stopped. They may control Tillamook County, but that doesn’t mean they are above the laws of Oregon and the United States of America. The truth will be exposed and the perpetrators will be held accountable, thanks to the help of courageous and honorable folks like you and my friends.

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