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Furlandia: Portland's first furry convention overshadowed by MTV controversy

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Furlandia splash, by Marco the CatA convention can be made or broken on one simple principle: communication. It can seem so simple to do, but when the number of people you’re trying to do it with goes up, it becomes a complex issue.

In the modern (mis)information era, public relations has changed from a hassle typically tossed to the side 'til bad news arises, to a demanding necessity where your job is to prevent strife before it occurs. Slacking can cause a brushfire that one has but a single extinguisher to put out.

Which brings us to an example of such unfortunate episodes: Furlandia, the third new furry convention to spawn in the past two months. This one was held in Portland, Oregon. 270 showed up and over $1,000 was donated to PAW Team, which provides veterinary care for the pets of impoverished locals. The donation comes with an asterisk, though, as it came from MTV; fans threw in $6. [Update: Comments suggest this only reflects Sunday's count.]

I was not at the convention; however, I know some who were, and I’ve looked into all sides with an open mind and am giving my best assessment. Most importantly: I’m evaluating why this incident blew up as it did, so that future convention leaders can avoid undue stress.

Four furs booked in two days

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Ohio furs Brown Leopard (Ronald R. Packer II, 33), his wife, Wolfie Stonespirit (Jennifer Packer, 30) and Keba (Joseph O. Luna, 21) were arrested July 14 after exiting a barn around 3AM. The trio were charged with breaking and entering and receiving stolen property.

Marion County police recovered a large amount of stolen property from their home and estimate they have committed over sixty thefts in the area. Brown Leopard is also wanted in West Virginia for failure to appear on a weapons offense.

A day later, Sibe (Ross Herbert Reddick, 31) was booked into Clackamas County Jail, charged with third degree sexual abuse, recklessly endangering another person, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, endangering the welfare of a minor and sexual misconduct.

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