Thursday May 23, 2013
Occupy Activist and Former Mayoral Candidate Continues Protest on Housing InjusticeSalem-News.com
So far, only two members of City Council have visited Whitten; interactions are described as "not being very progressive".
(PORTLAND, OR) - The Hunger Strike at City Hall has lasted for 3 weeks. Whitten, who began his demonstration at 193.7 pounds, finds himself light on his feet after shedding a total of 14. One of his fellow activists, Jason Scheer, just abandoned his fast after 11 Days. Only the 25 year old Billy Schidner remains in the protest, a Washingtonian who is on the 10th Day of a water-only strike.
So far, only two members of City Council have visited Whitten, Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Randy Leonard. He described these interactions as "not being very progressive". Commissioner Dan Saltzman continues to stress his role as Administrator over the Bureau of Development Services, defending the doubling fines that are being charged against the two co-owners of the lot below the Chinatown Gate. Through unintended consequences, this decision is penalizing a vulnerable houseless community that camps there, and has no where else to go.
Both Mayoral hopefuls Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales have stopped in to see Whitten, which he believes will increase the dialogue on housing priorities during the campaign season. He also has been visited by former Mayoral Candidates Bill Dant and Eileen Brady, who have both expressed support of waiving the fines that have adversely affected Right 2 Dream Too.
Whitten claims that his spirits are high. Although he complains of occasional bodily discomfort and unreliable energy levels, he declares that community awareness is building, as well as support for the proposed resolutions.
Whitten is teaming up with local housing advocates to organize a major solidarity action for the thirty day anniversary of the strike, a 'Slumber Party' at City Hall. On July 1st, supporters will be hauling sleeping bags to cover the four blocks that surround City Hall. On Monday morning, city workers will be greeted by dozens of sleeping bodies in order to bring visibility to the housing crisis that could be receiving more attention.
For the Facebook Event information: www.facebook.com/events/408254559216734/
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