Portland women's shelter renamed
for late activist Bonnie Tinker
By Allan Brettman, The Oregonian
December 05, 2009, 8:18PM
Allan Brettman/The Oregonian
Mary Dzieweczynski (left) executive director of Bradley Angle, talks about the legacy of
Bonnie Tinker, the founding director of the emergency women's shelter.
The shelter was named for Tinker at a ceremony Saturday. The audience of about 100 people included
Adah Crandall (foreground in picture on original post /see link) who is holding the hand of her mother, Anne Crandall, who
is sitting next to Tinker's son, Alex Tinker.
Robin Kandel dashed down the sidewalk from her Southeast Portland
home, her two young daughters in tow, when the beatings became too
The assaults were a regular part of a 10-year marriage. None was worse
than the time the stitches were torn following a Caesarean delivery a
But she did leave.
Kandel ran to a phone booth and called the Portland Women's Crisis Line,
which patched her through to the Bradley-Angle House for abused
women. The shelter immediately gave Kandel and her daughters a
"That was the first time I realized what I was going through wasn't
normal," Kandel said.
Where to go for help
The Portland area has several resources for battered women, including the
Bonnie Tinker House operated by Bradley Angle, an organization with
emergency, transition and community-based services:
The Portland Women's Crisis Line, 503-235-5333 or 888-235-5333, with 24-
hour resources and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence,
includes a comprehensive list of agencies at http://pwcl.org
Fifteen years later, she is the emergency services manager for the
women's shelter. And she shared her story of survival Saturday afternoon
at a gathering to honor the founding director of the Bradley-Angle House,
Several friends and family also recounted their memories of Tinker, who
was honored in a ceremony that renamed the shelter the Bonnie Tinker
House, a part of Bradley Angle's domestic violence programs.
Tinker, 61, was killed July 2 in a crash with a truck while riding her
bicycle in Virginia, where she was attending a Quaker conference.
Almost immediately, friends of Tinker thought of naming the emergency
shelter after her. It would be an honor, they believed benefiting the
Portland activist who was a leader in the anti-war group Seriously P.O.'d
Grannies and director of Love Makes a Family, which supports
nontraditional families, including those led by same-sex parents.
They couldn't know that the date they chose to honor Tinker -- the
founding chairwoman of the National Coalition Against Domestic
Violence -- would land in the midst of continued horror for abused
women. Seven women in the region have been victims of violence in the
past 30 days by estranged ex-husbands, husbands or boyfriends.
Before remembering their friend, the 100 or so people gathered in
Southeast Portland observed a moment of silence to remember the slain
women. Then individual voices read each of the women's names and
those of their killer.
"It's really hard to understand, isn't it?" Tinker's partner, Sara Graham,
said before the ceremony began.
But Saturday's event, held at Tinker's spiritual home, the Multnomah
Friends Social Hall on Southeast Stark, was focused most on Tinker -- her
personality, her passions, her efforts to make the world a better place, no
matter who got ticked off in the process.
Betsy Kenworthy, a Social Hall employee, said, "She could be prickly."
The remark elicited laugher.
Kenworthy recounted a remark years ago from someone else at the
Religious Society of Friends, the Quaker group that the feisty Tinker
"Don't you think it's amazing that Bonnie Tinker comes here every
Sunday and sits here in silence for an hour?"
But nothing got more laughs than the comedy tag-team routine from two
of Tinker's sisters, Mary Beth Tinker of Washington, D.C., and Hope
Tinker of Fayette, Mo.
Each took turns reading from a 1978 "Intelligence Report" about Bonnie
Tinker and Mary Beth Tinker that Mary Beth said a friend of Bonnie's
retrieved from a Portland police file.
The two-page document casts suspicion on the two women promoting the
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "an organization of grass
roots, radical, women-controlled shelters, and hotlines."
The laughter grew loudest at the last line:
"The Tinker girls are true revolutionaries and they will use anything in
their power to aid the revolution."
Throughout Saturday's speeches, a plaque with Tinker's image sat on a
table, surrounding by burning candles. The plaque, which will hang on a
wall in the emergency shelter, features this quote:
"We understood very clearly from the beginning that starting a house was
help for the people who were going to come there to live, but it also had
to do with our own survival; we had to do something that had some
meaning to untangle this whole mess for all of us."
-- Bonnie Tinker, 1979
-- Allan Brettman