Note: this article was originally published on April 26, 2013 as the third installment of my six part series for Mismanaging Perception on the unsuccessful campaign to fluoridate Portland’s water supply.
Alberta Street saw upwards of 700 clean water lovers take to the streets Thursday in opposition to fluoridation chemicals being added to fresh Bull Run tap water. The heated campaigns for and against fluoridation have been waging an all out war, though the pro-fluoride side has received far greater big-money donations from large business interests.
Gathering at the offices of Clean Water Portland, a mass of bicyclists kicked off the festivities early. Crossing the Willamette River, the riders stopped for a group photo in front of a new three-story tall billboard urging citizens of Portland to vote NO to fluoride chemicals next month. Ballots go out May 3rd and are due by May 21st.
From here, the ride pressed north to the monthly Alberta St. ‘Last Thursday‘ arts fair celebration, where hundreds of Portland voters peacefully and legally marched the length of the street flanked by lively mobile music courtesy of the perennial March Fourth Marching Band and the aptly titled LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band.
The voices speaking out against fluoridation include Food & Water Watch, Columbia Riverkeepers, and local chapters of the Sierra Club and the NAACP. Contradictory to the pro-fluoride campaign’s arguments, dental health in Oregon and Portland has actually been improving steadily across the board for the last 5 years without fluoridated water. While this tough campaign for clean, unpolluted drinking water will continue for many weeks more, on the last Thursday of April 2013, the mood was celebratory and the crowd was full of loving warmth and smiles.
March organizer Zia McCabe said at a recent clean water event, “I feel strongly about this issue for several reasons. The main two being that our planet has a diminishing supply of clean water and it feels crazy to taint one of the purest supplies on the planet with a toxic byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry. The other is the fact that it is completely unethical to medicate a population via it’s water supply.”
Previous articles from Mismanaging Perception regarding fluoridation can be found HERE. Please consider donating and volunteering to Clean Water Portland by clicking HERE. The next clean water event is this Sunday at 7pm at The Goodfoot on SE Stark. Doors open at 6pm, sliding scale from $5-20 dollars.
T’was lovely to see you in the streets.
All images copyright Hart Noecker and Rebel Metropolis.