Portland, Ore.– Cameron Whitten has endured his seventh week of hunger striking outside of City Hall. Down to 160.1 pounds, he continues to petition local officials to expand their strategies on affordable housing and short-term emergency relief.
The week was abuzz with rumors of a forceful sweep that would remove the Occupy-affiliated demonstration from the sidewalks around City Hall. Last Monday, the City authorized a pressure wash that temporarily barred protesters from occupying the three feet of walkway that was constitutionally protected for their use.
Questions from the public arose when the cleaning order was executed after demonstrators conducted their own clean up the previous morning. They scrubbed the sidewalks manually, free of charge, even after police officers threatened to arrest them for disorderly conduct over the use of their pressure washer. Only a few protesters, including Whitten, have crossed back over to City Hall so far. The others and their belongings can still be found next to Terry Schrunk federal plaza, which has come under recent scrunity as a haven for rodents.
This Friday, Whitten and his supporters will be celebrating the 50 day anniversary of the strike that began on June 2nd. The rally has attracted community activists and leaders, including Mayoral hopefuls Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith.
The current City Council has effectively extinguished all communication with Whitten. Weeks ago, they almost reached a agreement to relocate the Right 2 Dream Too campsite, but balked at the young activists’ suggestion to add citizen oversight to the process. Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been quoted in local papers saying that he is done with Whitten, and is waiting to call 911 after there is a medical emergency.
There is no determined end date for this protest.