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Historic Fort Occupied In Protest Of Treatment of Homeless Veterans

August 30, 1988

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) _ A homeless man who barricaded himself in a historic 19th-century fort and threatened to blow it up had enough provisions to last two weeks but surrendered after about seven hours.

While police and FBI agents surrounded Fort Vancouver on Monday, the man used black powder to fire several apparently harmless shots from replicas of cannons inside the reconstructed log fort. No one was injured.

The man, who identified himself as Ken Rose, 40, surrendered in exchange for an opportunity to talk to reporters.

The former Marine said Vietnam veterans need their own program, run by other veterans, to overcome unique emotional and psychological problems.

″Veterans in this country paid their dues. They served with pride,″ Rose, of the Tillamook, Ore., area, told reporters. ″It’s a disgrace to see them sleeping on the sidewalk. They face a lot of emotional, psychological and physical problems that are unlike (those facing) any other segment of the population in America.″

Police arrested Rose and he was held in the Clark County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail on a state charge of first-degree burglary, police Capt. Ray Anderson said. Federal officials declined to prosecute him.

Rose used a rope to scale the fort’s 15-foot walls and said he had enough provisions to hold out for two weeks. But he agreed with an FBI negotiator who told him that would be pointless.

FBI negotiators initially took charge because the 4 1/2 -acre fort, originally built in the early 1800s, is a federal landmark.

Rose said he was recently treated in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland, Ore., for post-traumatic stress syndrome and alcoholism.

He said he had been living in his car and with friends. He said he was a Marine corporal in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, including the Tet offensive.

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