October 20th, 2011 | by EMILY GREEN News | Posted In: Activism, City Hall, Business, Housing, Health, Politics

Occupier of the Day: Deb Reitenour

Our daily visit with people at Occupy Portland

deb.reitenourDeb Reitenour - Photo: Emily Green

Name: Deb Reitenour

Age: 41

Occupation: Unemployed restaurant manager

Tenure at Occupy Portland: Daytime occupier since day one

Otherwise lives in: Roseway neighborhood in Northeast Portland

Favorite economic thinker: Robert Wright

Her contribution to the camp: Before the Occupation began, Reitenour helped organize the kitchen. “With my experience in restaurant management, I knew I could lend a hand." She says everyone who serves food in the Occupy kitchen has a valid Oregon Food Handlers Card.

The kitchen is open 24/7, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and offering snacks at all hours. Reitenour estimates that it serves about 1,000 people each day, and it's in need of more volunteers. She works the lunch and dinners shifts.

She says restaurants such as Por Que No, along with local farmers and other generous Portlanders, donate food everyday. “They know it’s expensive. They’re part of the 99 percent."

Her struggles leading up to Occupy Portland: Reitenour, who has a master’s degree in social work, has been unsuccessfully looking for work for two years. “I’ve applied for it all,” says Reitenour, even trash pick up. Her husband works in a wholesale and retail nursery, but ever since she’s been unemployed, she says “It’s been tough. We’re going through our savings, and I still have a huge mortgage to pay.”

Her experience at Occupy Portland: ”Many different people have their own reasons for being here. There are LGBT causes, environmental concerns, homeowners under water and people upset about the lack of regulations. It crosses political lines. It’s not about one political agenda, it’s about people wanting their own say in government."

“This is different than activism. This is a movement."



 
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