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Occupy Mount Tabor Will March on City Hall This Wednesday

The reservoir rebellion is descending on City Hall.

Oreganizers of the Occupy Mount Tabor camping protest will hold a kickoff march at Portland City Hall at 10 am this Wednesday, June 19, demanding the city resume efforts to keep open-air drinking-water reservoirs in Washington Park and on Mount Tabor.

"The City of Portland has given up trying to get a waiver for our reservoirs," says the protest's Facebook announcement. "Instead, they put profit over people and are willing to both poison the water and raise your water bill by 44% to pay for it."

The protest will be Mayor Charlie Hales' first experience of an Occupy-related rally, and will likely mark the moment when reservoir defenders turn their sights on City Commissioner Nick Fish, who began overseeing the Water Bureau this month.

Just before Hales handed Fish the bureau assignment, he announced that the city would abandon its efforts to get an exemption from federal "LT2" drinking-water requirements, which say that city water supplies must be covered or underground.

That announcement has escalated the antagonism between water activists and City Hall.

An offshoot of Occupy Portland plans to begin camping in Tabor Park starting July 12, with the support of some neighbors. Longtime Tabor-area activist group Friends of the Reservoirs is petitioning U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley to intervene in the city's plans. And 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.