- Eliminated illicit massage advertising from Oregon Yellow Pages directories.
- Produced a public education brochure about massage.
- Organized annual conferences.
- Held regional workshops.
- Offered moral support and mentoring to massage students.
- Raised operational funds.
- Developed networks within the massage community.
- Kept informed about political events affecting the massage profession and contributed to the costs of a massage lobbyist.
- Produced Touchstone, a popular massage journal, published three times a year.
- Produced an Annual Directory for Referrals.
- Developed this website, www.omta.net, for the benefit of the public and our membership.
- Started Continuing Education University, providing quality continuing education.
The Great Yellow Pages Battle
by Susan Kerr Shawn
(This article appeared in the September 1994 issue of Touchstone.)
This report could be subtitled, "How we got the Prostitutes out of the Massage Heading." What a story! The best part is that we were told over and over again, "It will never happen. It can't be done. You'll never get them out." But we did.
Up until the Fall of 1987, when we won this battle, the Massage heading in the Yellow Pages was filled with ads from prostitutes and brothels with names like"Sexy Sauna," "Cindy's sexy massage," and the like. Huge ads, half pages.
"I finally accused the editor of pimping"
Many legitimate LMTs were afraid to list because of the harassing and disgusting phone calls that would follow. At one point, I figured out that the Yellow Pages was making an enormous amount of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars, on these ads, and finally accused the editor of pimping. No question about it, he didn't like the inference.
What finally turned the corner for us was the Attorney General's Office. We talked first to Mike Shrunk, the DA for Multnomah County, since we were told that we would have to prosecute each and every person listing under massage who did not have a valid license. That was unworkable, since these folks would just up and change their name or location.
Avenues of Action
In April of 1987, in Touchstone, I listed "four basic avenues of action available to us." They were:
- A civil injunction against the Yellow Pages.
- The Attorney General's office pursuing the Yellow Pages from the standpoint of fraud.
- Legislation against the Yellow Pages. We decided, together with the AMTA, to pursue this action in 1989.
- Public Opinion.
Each one of these routes were spelled out in detail, including a press conference and letters to the Board of Directors for US West Direct; even visions of sit-ins or pickets, if all else failed. We were determined.
(The following is an article in the September 1987 Touchstone.)
The US West Direct Yellow Pages for the Portland Metropolitan Area has agreed to comply with the July 14 demand from the Attorney General's Fraud Division to list only LMTs under the "Massage" heading. According to the Attorney General's office, represented by Mr. Paul Sundermier, to publish unlicensed massage ads "will be viewed by this office as publishing with knowledge of the false, misleading or deceptive character of the advertisement and a willful violation of the Unlawful Trade Practices Act."
US West Direct said it will comply with the demand
In response, US West Direct said, as of July 17, "Without admitting that any conduct on its part constitutes a violation of any law and expressly denying the same, has determined that it will comply with the demand contained in your July 14, 1987 letter."
The Yellow Pages folks fussed and fumed about trying to match the ads with the list from the State Board of Massage to see who was licensed, but basically I still believe they were just miffed about losing all that money. I told them they would still get it. It would just go under "Escort Service," or some such. We invited Paul Sundermier to our Annual Conference that year, and gave him a long scroll, calligraphed and embossed with gold, signed by everyone there, and a standing ovation, in thanksgiving for his faithful service. It turns out that he has a sister who does massage in another state, so he understood.
In Portland, only LMTs list under Massage now. What about other areas? Anybody else having trouble in other parts of the State? Are we home free? Let us know.