A showdown is about to happen on Mt Tabor. Activists and neighborhood organizers are preparing to set up Camp Cascadia in protest of city hall’s failure to secure an LT2 waiver to the costly mandated burying of Portland’s historic water reservoirs. According to organizers, this protest is about far more than just the reservoirs themselves. This is about the quality of the Bull Run tap water, this is about citizen rights to the city itself, and this is about the potential privatization of our entire regional water supply. There is much at stake. Starting this Friday, the progression of events in this struggle will chart a new course.
Local press has been itching for this occupation. Occupy Mt. Tabor/Camp Cascadia organizer Jessie Sponberg was interviewed by both Willamette Week and Portland Mercury this week. Sponberg explained the action, “I’m going to show up there with a dome tent and about 200 really awesome people that care about our water. People are honestly going to get priced out of [their] water, and then we’ll privatize it, and then we’ll sell it. Because to come up with that $400 million dollars, we’re going have to borrow that money from Wall Street.” Added Sponberg, “Our city leaders have thrown their hands up and forfeited way too early – before they exhausted all their options. The occupation of Mt. Tabor is a serious last-ditch effort.”
At a recent community meeting at Rain Or Shine Coffee House, about two dozen concerned citizens were informed on the issue, and discussed last minute logistics for the upcoming occupation. Speakers stressed the fact that the city has not actually requested the LT2 waiver from the EPA or the Oregon Health Authority. They also urged people to contact key political players involved that could halt the dismantling of the Tabor reservoirs; mayor Charlie Hales, commissioner Nick Fish who oversees the Water Bureau, and Senator Jeff Merkley, who has unfortunately indicated his stance is drawn from that of city hall.