Columbia Gorge Stop

Power to the People workshop 05-05-2013History from Below: Power to the People!

Sunday, May 5th, 2013
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, OR
Download the Workshop Flyer.

Who owns the water? The wind? Who should manage the Gorge’s natural resources? Will privatization of these resources and their distribution lead to greater efficiency? Higher costs? Lower rates? Further environmental destruction? How much power is too much power?

With the potential privatization of water at Cascade Locks and the US postal service, and the ongoing debates over wind power and coal trains, these questions are especially relevant for Gorge residents today.

They are also precisely the questions that Wasco county Grangers, farmers and small businessmen who fought to establish the Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District were asking themselves and their community back in the late 1930s and 40s. The struggle to form the PUD lasted more than 10 years and led to one of the most contentious elections in Wasco County history.

History from Below: Power to the People! is an interactive workshop that invites participants to explore those moments when passionate, principled or simply fed-up people from rural Oregon (and Wasco County, in particular) have banded together in hopes of changing the course of history at the local, state or national level.

Former PUD employee and local historian Linda Wilson will share the story of the fight to establish the Northern Wasco PUD. Oral historian and documentary producer Michael O’Rourke will offer reflections on the broader movement for public power.  Breakout sessions will offer participants the opportunity to dig deeper into this history by exploring historical archives of the public power movement and analyzing what they reveal about the values, demands and strategies of this movement and its opponents.  Barbara Byrd (Senior Instructor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center) and The Dalles city councilor Dan Spatz will facilitate a discussion exploring the resonance and relevance of this history for issues facing Gorge residents today.

Complementary coffee and tea will be provided.  A sliding scale donation of $3 to $10 is suggested; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  RSVPs are requested but not required to: sarah[at]rop.org or on Facebook.

Co-sponsored by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.

For more information, contact Sarah: sarah[at]rop.org, 503-367-0157.

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