Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland may have more cash in the war chest, but the anti-fluoride folks are trying to put more boots on the ground.
Advocates for Clean Water Portland, the “no” vote in the measure to fluoridate the city’s water supply, held a raucous march down Northeast Alberta Street during Last Thursday.
Revelers walked, biked, skated and danced the twelve blocks to a vacant lot on Northeast 23rd Street, led by the gypsy funk of the March Fourth Marching Band and a troop of burlesque stilt dancers. A separate band, LoveBomb Go-Go, bookended the procession.
Most demonstrators were decked out from head to foot in blue, while others opted for more extravagant wardrobe choices: a Poseidon-dressed cyclist sported a gas-powered, fire-spitting trident.
Organized by Dandy Warhols keyboardist Zia McCabe, the march was thrown together at the last minute as a way to draw attention to the May 21 vote on Measure 26-151, which proposes to fluoridate Portland’s drinking water.McCabe says she hopes Clean Water Portland’s vocal and active support will be able to combat the pro-fluoride side’s fiscal advantage.
“It’s a real threat knowing Health Kids, Healthy Portland have over half a million dollars to spend on their campaign,” said McCabe, who hastily organized the demonstration over the last ten days. But she adds that “[Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland] don’t have the grassroots aspect like we do. They are trying, but I don’t know if anyone is buying it.”
Meanwhile, Clean Water Portland has insisted their campaign has been from the bottom up, and counter their opponents’ major donations have all been from out of state.McCabe has organized events ranging from a seven concert series at The Goodfoot to waving anti-fluoride signs on Portland bridges.
McCabe estimates there were at least 700 people at the march.
“If we can use the power of people versus the power of money to defeat fluoride, it will be a huge win for this vote and for Portland,” said McCabe.