Interview with Mark Rouch
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Mark Rouch:
How long again were you at Waldport?
You know I’m not quite sure of that. But that introduces another question or another matter. There were a group of us -- there must have been about twenty. I don’t know the exact number. But a group of us left the camp and we told the government where we would be. It was a sort of a protest against working without any wages. It wasn’t an attempt to escape because we all told the government where they could find us. I went to Portland and I worked in a Methodist Community Center called Manley Center in Portland. I lived there and worked there, and then finally I made the mistake of hitchhiking back to my home in Oklahoma just for a visit. The man who was the head of the draft board lived right across the street. And of course, he saw me and realized I was not at the camp so he got in touch with the FBI. I was arrested and then I got out on bail. I was arrested in Oklahoma City, or taken to Oklahoma City. Then I went back out to Oregon and went back to work at Manley Center. My trial didn’t come up until the end of the war in 1946 -- and I was acquitted on a technicality. There was a lawyer by the name of Reinmiller. . . He was a quite competent lawyer in Portland, and he took the cases of several conscientious objectors who had done the same thing I had done. With the war being over, the government just simply wanted to dispose of us, and so I was acquitted on a technicality.