Occupy Portland activist, former Portland, Oregon mayoral candidate, and all around great person, Cameron Whitten is entering his 29th day of a hunger strike to lift the fines on Portland's Right to Dream Too Rest Area (R2DToo). On Sunday, July 1st, his 30th day without food, there are plans for a Slumber Party to surround Portland's City Hall to bring further attention to the issues of housing justice.
A bit more background: R2DToo is a nonprofit organization which operates a space where people can rest and sleep safely and undisturbed. A description from R2DToo's Facebook page:
Right 2 Dream Too (R2DToo) exists to awaken social and political groups to the importance of safe and undisturbed sleep. Our purpose is to create a place where unhoused people can rest or sleep without being rousted by police or private security and without being under the constant threat of violence. We hope to create a cost-effective, self-sustaining model that can be replicated elsewhere.While R2DToo has support in the community, policymakers are continuing to fine the property owners of the site for letting houseless individuals sleep/rest at the location.
Cameron Whitten is asking for the following:
1. For City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to withdraw the fines on the co-owners of the Right 2 Dream Too Rest Area, and to seek a peaceful resolution for this cost-free solution to homelessness for the remainder of the lease agreement.Whitten has been staying all day, all week at Occupy Portland's 24/7 Vigil right outside of City Hall. Despite some racist hate groups attacking Whitten, he has been able to increase the level of support at the Vigil. Mayor Sam Adams, mayoral candidates Jefferson Smith and Charlie Hales, and the majority of City Commissioners (though not Dan Saltzman) have all met with Whitten, yet the fines have yet to be lifted.
2. For City Council to propose a housing levy measure to the November 2012 General Election ballot.
3. For Sheriff Daniel Staton to issue a 1-year moratorium on evictions for bank foreclosures in Multnomah County.
Doing outreach for Occupy Portland the last few weeks I've been amazed by the level of support and awareness of Cameron and R2DToo, but we really need to spread the word more about the so-often overlooked issue of houselessness. Our elected officials also need to understand the working class of Portland is tired of being brushed aside. Our City Commissioners too often seem to be serving the interests of the Portland Business Alliance and spending hours debating issues such as banning skateboarding, rather than being focused on finding positive solutions for housing issues, our schools, and economy.
Please if you have any time, help spread the word about R2DToo and Cameron's hunger strike.
Some ways to help:
Please support R2DToo.
Consider a Donation to Occupy Portland's 24/7 Vigil.
Follow Cameron Whitten on Twitter.
If you live in the area, please make sure to make it down to City Hall on Sunday evening as we try to surround City Hall with sleeping people!
The Associated Press ran a story the other day, but it would be great if we could get more national attention about the ongoing actions taking place outside of City Hall. Here is a link to suggest a story idea to Democracy Now!.