Right now at least one hundred people (numbers are rising) are occupying Portland’s beautiful Mt. Tabor park in order to protest the imminent corporate take-over of one of the longest standing pure mountain water filtration systems in the nation. Men, women and children line the streets of 60th Avenue at Hawthorne blvd. in southeast Portland holding signs, playing music and cheering on the honking passing cars to raise awareness of this critical happening. In the words of Portland’s own Camp Cascadia Occupy project:
Why occupation? It’s well-documented that the current trajectory of this project is economically and environmentally unsustainable, with absolutely no relevant scientific grounding. If this project maintains its current course, we, the people of Portland, are looking at a 44% increase in our water bills, and all the health hazards that come with covered reservoirs. Let it be known to the people of Portland that politicians who are working in conjunction with transnational water corporations without our public consent are rushing this water project. They never gave us the opportunity to be heard.
The City of Portland has decided, against public opninion or input, to no longer pursue the LT2 waiver which would protect these pristine resevoirs. Jessie Sponberg, member of Camp Cascadia and organizer of ‘Occupy Mt. Tabor’ wanted to change the dinner conversations in Portland to something important – which is why he decided to put together this event. He said “just saying the word ‘occupy’ brought a huge response from people.” The city is paying over $400 million dollars to close these reservoirs in order to put them on unnecessary corporate owned systems. CHZM Hill bought the contract for Portland’s water along with many other municipal projects including the Seattle reservoir built around 12 years ago, which is already collapsing.
Mt. Tabor has been providing Portland with clean water for over 113 years without a single case of reported illness. The water is sourced from the Bull Run watershed which is a ‘marvel of engineering’ – made from one solitary tube which runs down the mountain, all gravity fed. This is nearly unheard of anymore. Those in favor of shutting the open reservoirs say they are too much of a ‘terrorist’ target, though no proof that this would actually be an effective way to enact terrorism has ever been proven. There are camera’s all around Mt. Tabor reservoir, if anything happened they could easily seal it off. “Terrorists are not going to hit here” says Sponberg.
Jessie speaks out:
Floy Jones with ‘Friends of the Reservoirs‘ also had much to say on the subject:
As citizens gather peacefully with tents, free food, signs, laughter and music, spirits are high but resolve is clear that there is great dissatisfaction with the way Portland is handling this water issue. Portlanders will not easily give up protesting the distasteful corporate take-over of their clean Mt. Tabor water and are willing to occupy the scene to speak out. Protesters are still gathered cheering on cars and making their voices known. One protester, dubbed ‘The Shadow’, sings his tunes to lift the vibe of the scene and bring people together even more, Portland style:
If you want to know more about this movement visit Camp Cascadia and Occupy Mt. Tabor.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
Sources: Live Footage and Camp Cascadia/Occupy Mt Tabor