The Rally was a big success! On Tuesday, June 26th, 300 Oregonians gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza to tell Governor Kitzhaber that no stance is not an option when it comes to Nestlé’s proposed water bottling facility. The protesters represented over 30,000 Oregonians who have demanded that the Governor protect our water by using his influence to halt the water exchange that would allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to give away our public water for Nestlé’s profit.
Terry Swier, a lead activist on the campaign to fight Nestlé in her Michigan hometown, traveled to Oregon to attend the rally and encourage Oregonians to continue their fight. “From my own experience, I would tell the residents of Oregon to ask hard questions of Nestlé and their elected officials,” said Swier. “Don’t take Nestlé’s word on anything. Even though we’re winning in Michigan, irreparable harm has been inflicted by Nestlé on our water system. Our lakes and streams will never be the same.” Other speakers included:
- Barbara Willer—a former County Commissioner who was instrumental in getting the “Take Back the Tap” resolution passed in Multnomah County
- Tim Norgren—a resident of The Dalles representing Columbia River Gorge residents opposing Nestlé
- Sister Brigid Baumann—A representative from the Sisters of the Holy Names who advocates for Oregonians’ free access to good water, believing it is is a sacred right
Present at the rally was a 40-foot “Keep Nestlé Out of the Gorge” banner on which activists pinned cloth water droplets with their messages to Governor Kitzhaber. Julia DeGraw, of Food and Water Watch, led rally attendees in a chant which was left on Governor Kitzhaber’s answering machine: “Water is a human right! Don’t let Nestlé win this fight!” To close, local bluegrass band Cedro Willie led activists in a sing-along featuring the songs “Roll on Columbia” and “This Land is Your Land,” with special lyrics and new lines written just for this campaign.
Through out the rally participants were encourage to call the governor’s office to ask him to protect our water from Nestlé, you can make your call to Governor Kitzhaber today at: 503-378-4582
The Coalition groups who organized the rally include Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club, Bark, Occupy Portland, Oregon AFSCME, Portland Alliance for Democracy, Sisters of the Holy Names, and Resources for Health.