|Cameron Whitten, pictured before he started his fast, at an art show in City Hall|
Housing activists will hold a rally at 4:30 pm, July 20, outside of City Hall, to mark 50 days of fasting by Cameron Whitten. Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith, First Unitarian Church minister Kate Lore, and Right 2 Dream Too organizer Ibrahim Mubarak are among the planned speakers.
Whitten's fast aims to draw attention to the growing ranks of people without homes, who are living on Portland's streets. As The Skanner News has reported, almost 30 percent of Portland's homeless are black.
Whitten was a mayoral candidate in the May election, but did not make it to the runoff.
Whitten is demanding that Portland City Council:
-- Stop the Bureau of Planning from fining the Right 2 Dream Too encampment in Old Town, and allow that camp to continue.
-- Set up a citizens panel to work on creating a transitional housing campground, on the same lines as Dignity Village.
Originally Whitten was also asking Portland City Council to place a housing levy on the November ballot, and demanding that Multnomah County Sheriffs stop enforcing bank foreclosure evictions.
Thirty days into his fast, after meeting with all of the city commissioners, Whitten dropped those two demands.
"We can still work on the levy and the foreclosure issue through 2014," he said. "But the immediate crisis of people living on the streets must be addressed."
Whitten has lost 30 lbs during his fast.