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Dec-02-2011 19:22printcomments

While other Occupy camps shut down Occupy Hood River sets up Winter Weekend Camp!

Participants see Occupy Hood River as a way to help move the national Occupy Movement into its next stage

Occupy the Gorge

(HOOD RIVER, Ore.) - While other Occupy camps around the U.S. are getting shut down, Occupy the Gorge is launching its second camp in Hood River's Jackson Park Friday, Dec. 2, for an “Occupy Hood River Winter Weekend Camp.”

The camp comes after the recent success of the week-long Occupy Mosier camp which was attended by over 200 people during the week and made national news. The goal of Occupy Hood River is to further fuel the growing effort by average Americans to take back control of our government from corporations and advocate for changes that help protect local communities and families.

Occupy Hood River is not just intended to occupy public space, but more importantly to connect with the local community and create a dialogue that helps build a broad foundation for fundamental change. Occupy the Gorge organizers view the Winter Weekend Camp as an opportunity for Hood River residents to learn about and join the multi-dimensional movement, whose actions and events extend beyond the occupation camp.

The Occupy Hood River Winter Weekend Camp will run from Friday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 4, at the corner of May St. and 13th.

So far, at least 15 individuals committed to camping the weekend at Jackson Park. Both Friday and Saturday night will feature community potluck dinners at 5:00 p.m., followed by guest speakers and live music. Speaker workshops and discussions will focus on topics encouraging income equality, the protection of healthy communities and local opportunities for action.

Participants also see Occupy Hood River as a way to help move the national Occupy Movement into its next stage and the weekend is a way to bring people from all ideological perspectives into the camp.

To that end, Santa Claus will be making a special trip to Hood River from his own Occupy the North Pole camp and bringing a bunch of fresh snow from Mt. Hood with him to create a kidʼs sledding run. Yes, Santa in his full regalia will be giving away traditional organic candy canes, but this this will be a chance not just for kids to say what they want for the holidays, but more importantly a chance to tell Santa what they are thankful for and what they want to make the world a better place.

People should bring your snow saucers or inner tubes if they have them, but we'll have a few as well. English and Spanish flyers inviting residents to the event are being delivered door to door in the local neighborhood and nearby apartment complexes with high numbers of low-income residents.

Occupy the Gorge highlights that the movement isnʼt just for big cities and that rural communities have been hit especially hard by corporate control over the political system.

Activists say that while federal monetary, tax, trade and environmental policies have showered big benefits on the banks, multinational corporations and the rich, working families and the poor in small-town Oregon continue to bear the brunt of a painful recession.

“Oregon has the highest rate of childhood hunger in this country,” said Keeley Harding of Mt. Hood, who is helping Occupy the Gorge expand social media networking. “Almost 30 percent of kids donʼt have their next meal guaranteed for them. Corporate influence in government is giving the whole cake to CEOs and leaving crumbs for poor families.”

The camp will conclude Sunday, though Occupy the Gorge events and activism will continue through December and next year. Occupy Hood River organizers invite all concerned voters, no matter their party affiliation, to gather at 2nd and Oak in Hood River for an “Occupy Congressional District 2” rally on Monday, Dec. 5 at noon. Simultaneous demonstrations are scheduled in Bend, LaGrande, Medford, and Klamath Falls calling for more accessible Town Halls so the 99% can address local issues directly with their representative.

On Monday night from 7 to 9 p.m., as a follow-up to the weekendʼs events, the public is invited to hear celebrated educator, writer, and activist Paul Cienfuegos present an introductory workshop on corporate Constitutional “rights” and what communities can do to preserve the rights of people and the environment. The event is occurring at the Hood River Library Meeting Room.

The Occupy the Gorge network has had events throughout the area since the start of Occupy Mosier aimed at both increasing public awareness and focusing on discrete and tangible efforts.

We participated in “Break up with your Bank” days at Bank of American and Wells Fargo in The Dalles, rallied to save a Bingen manʼs home from foreclosure at Sterling Savings Bank in White Salmon, and more than 40 people rallied against a planned expansion at the Hood River Walmart and in support of local jobs and living wages. The rally opposing Walmart expansion was followed by a large Occupy presence at a recent Hood River Planning Commission meeting where the Commission rejected a major store expansion Walmart had expected to push through.

“Walmartʼs attempt to force the City of Hood River to allow them to increase the size of their existing building is a perfect example of a mega-corporation asserting that it is above our local law,” says Moriah Carlson of Hood River. “It was great to see such strong opposition galvanized against the plan and it was clear that Occupy the Gorge really generated a lot of opposition to the project.”

Cara Shufelt of Rural Organizing Project, the organization facilitating the Occupy Congressional District 2 day of action, is empowered by how quickly and effectively Gorge Occupiers addressed local income inequality. “Itʼs exciting to see Occupy the Gorge moving so quickly to leverage the energy behind the Occupy Movement into tangible campaigns important to the local community,” she said.

Visit for more information about Occupy the Gorge and to view a calendar of events

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