Water politics make strange bedfellows.
The news that an Occupy Portland offshoot is planning to camp in a signature park might make a neighborhood association wary—especially when it's a neighborhood association famous for doggedly protecting that park.
But one influential member of the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association is angry enough with the city over its plan to drain the Tabor drinking water reservoirs that she's supporting the "Occupy Mount Tabor" protest on July 12.
Stephanie Stewart, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association land use chair, says let the camping begin.
"I don’t fear the Occupiers like I fear the weak-willed bureaucrats who plan to hand over our water system to a band of spend-and-build-eager consultants," Stewart tells WW. "I’m not a member of Occupy, but if there was ever a cause to inspire occupation, it would appear to be this one."
Stewart's welcome to the Occupy Mount Tabor movement—a spinoff of Occupy Portland, though not directly affiliated—comes in the midst of a growing war between water activists and the city.
Both come armed: The city is planning to drain the Tabor reservoirs and place the water supply in holding tanks, while water ratepayers angry about their bills plan to place a People's Utility District on the May 2014 ballot, taking power over the Water Bureau away from City Hall.