Please join us in supporting the 2015 totem pole journey, led by Master Carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation’s House of Tears Carvers. Each year for the past two years, tribal members have carved and transported totem poles thousands of miles to raise public awareness and strengthen opposition to the export of fossil fuels from the west coast of the United States and Canada.
The 2015 journey (August 21 – August 31) comes at a defining moment in our collective effort to defeat these fossil fuel export proposals. The Corps of Engineers will soon decide whether or not it will agree with the Lummi Nation and deny all permits for the Gateway Pacific Terminal Project. The 2015 journey will play an important role uniting opposition to the fossil fuel export projects, empower the general public with information, send a strong and united message to agencies and elected officials, and strengthen local, regional, and national networks and alliances.
The 2015 journey will focus events in places of worship and in key tribal communities. Pope Francis, in his recent 184-page papal encyclical Laudato Si, issued a sweeping condemnation of the “relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness.” The central theme of his message was “our shared responsibilities” to the Creation and to each other. This is also the theme of the 2015 totem pole, and one that goes to the heart of opposition to the proposed extraction, refinement, transport and storage of fossil fuels in the Pacific Northwest.
Friday, August 21, 6 – 9 pm Vancouver, British Columbia Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, 1803 E 1st Ave (1 block east of 1st & Commercial), Vancouver 6 – 7 pm, Community Dinner, By donation 7 – 9 pm, Screening a film documentary by Freddy Lane of the Lummi Nation and Sierra Club about the 2014 “Our Shared Responsibility” journey through the Pacific Northwest. There will be a discussion with Jewell James (Lummi) and Rueben George (Tsleil-Waututh) following the film. Presenting supporter: Wilderness Committee; venue sponsor: Grandview Calvary Baptist Church.Affiliate: Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Contact: Reuben George – firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, August 22, 10 am – 1 pm North Vancouver, British Columbia Tsleil-Waututh Community Centre, 3010 Sleil Waututh Rd, North Vancouver 10 am – 12 noon, 2015 Totem Pole Journey arrival and ceremony outdoors. 12 noon – 1 pm, Lunch in Community Centre. Free. Affiliate: Tsleil-Waututh First Nation Contact: Reuben George – email@example.com
Saturday, August 22,5:30 – 7:00 pm Cherry Point, Bellingham, WA Tribal Admin. Center, 2665 Kwina Road, Bellingham Affiliates: Lummi Nation, NGOs, Faith-based Community Contacts: Kurt Russo – firstname.lastname@example.org Matt Patryni – email@example.com Beth Brownfield – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, August 23, 10:00 am Be on-site at 9:30 Marysville (Tulalip), WA Greg Williams Youth Center, 6700 Totem Beach Road, Marysville Affiliate: Tulalip Nation Contact: Freida Williams – email@example.com
Sunday, August 23, 6:00 – 7:30 pm Longview, WA St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Ave., Longview Affiliates: Quinault, NGO’s, Faith-based Community Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Monday, August 24, 5:30 – 7:30 pm Portland, OR St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 2408 SE 16th Ave., Portland
Affiliates: Columbia River Indian Fish Commission, NGOs, Faith-based Community
Tuesday, August 25, 12:30 – 1:30 pm Hood River, OR Riverside Community Church Sanctuary, 317 State Street, Hood River 11:30 am, “Invitation only” lunch for sponsoring organizations 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Blessing Affiliates: Faith-based Community, Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, August 25 Celilo Falls, OR Currently not open to the public. Affiliate: Celilo Peoples
Wednesday, August 26, 10 am – 2 pm Port of Morrow, Boardman, OR Boardman Marina Park, 1 Marine Dr. NW, Boardman Affiliate: Yakama Nation Contact: Elizabeth Sanchey – email@example.com
Thursday, August 27, 10 am Spokane, WA The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Fort Wright Drive, Spokane Affiliates: Spokane Tribe, Faith-Based Community Contacts: Twalea Abramson-Swan – firstname.lastname@example.org Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof – email@example.com
Friday, August 28 Missoula,MT Contact: John Lund – firstname.lastname@example.org
against racism, police brutality, and state violence.
We demand justice”.
August 9, 2015 — The third day of a community action panel sponsored by Don’t Shoot Pdx culminated with the arrest of two peaceful protesters after a 4.5 minute blockade at the intersection of SE 82nd Avenue and Division had already ended.
After a panel of five community activists spoke passionately to a roomful of about 50 supporters, a four and a half minute blockade of the intersection was executed to symbolize the four and a half hours that Michael Brown’s body was left in the street before he was finally removed by Ferguson police one year ago. The unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer August 9, 2014.
Before she was arrested, Teressa Raiford addressed ongoing racism and oppression endured by the Black Community. Referring to yesterday’s scuffle in Seattle at a Bernie Sanders rally, Teressa called the incident “a distraction” and said “Today isn’t about Senator Sanders and his politics– today is about Michael Brown”.
Alyssa Pagan reminded supporters that “Politicians can’t stop racism. We can stop racism!”
Pagan told the Oregonian that “Raiford was standing in the street to lead protesters who had moved to the sidewalk”. The group then witnessed police putting Teressa and fellow activist, Diane Chavez into handcuffs and into a car.
Other panelists included community activists John Slaughter Jr, Kevin Davis, and Lisa Sherman. After the panel, the short traffic disruption, and the arrests of Teressa and Diane, Portland Rising Tide held a workshop for non-violent civil disobedience (NVDA).
Portland, OR– July 30, 2015– The Fennica, Shell Oil’s damaged ice-breaker, began to move at 5:45 a.m. from the dock where it was being repaired for a damaged hull and was successfully turned back by a blockade of Greenpeace activists hanging from the St. John’s Bridge –which was closed to traffic–and Climate Action Coalition kayaktivists on the water.
As reporters began to speculate on whether the protesters had a plan B, Daphne Wysham said “There is no Plan B, just as there is no Planet B; we have no intention of moving until President Obama rescinds the permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic.”
“On the hottest day in Portland, OR in two years, activists are prepared to stay as long as required,” said Nick Caleb, an attorney with Our Children’s Trust. “We are doing this for the children and for future generations to come. Shell cannot take their future away.”
Dozens of local and regional activist were on alert and greeted the MSV Fennica upon its arrival around 3 a.m. on Saturday, July 25. The vigil at Cathedral Park began Monday on the banks of the Willamette River in anticipation of the icebreaker’s departure. Hundreds of protesters in kayaks and boats circled beneath the bridge throughout the first two days and nights of the departure vigil. Then, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the kayaktivists were joined by 13 Greenpeace protesters who rappelled from the St. Johns Bridge, creating an aerial blockade. On Thursday morning, the MSV Fennica was successfully turned back by the blockades.
On Thursday afternoon, climate justice activist Jonah Majure, locked himself to a Burlington Northern rail bridge in NE Portland to further prevent the Fennica from leaving Portland. The bridge represents a choke point in the ship’s route because it must raise in order for the ship to depart Portland. Jonah vowed to stay locked to the bridge until he was forcibly removed or until “workers on MSV Fennica, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Governor Kate Brown or President Obama assert their power to put an end to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic”.
Portland police began arresting the bridge climbers Thursday afternoon. After the cops cleared four climbers in the center of the bridge, kayaktivists took the waters below. They were also arrested and detained by police and Coast Guard troops in a reckless melee endangering activists on the water as an estimated 500 people onshore chanted “Stop that Ship!” Just before 6 pm, the MSV Fennica passed beneath the nine remaining protesters hanging from the St. Johns Bridge on its journey toward the further destruction and desecration of sacred Arctic waters.
Popular resistance will continue to grow against Arctic and off-shore oil drilling, tar sands extraction, LNG exports, fracking, and the fossil fuel economy driving our planet toward annihilation at an exponential rate. Old alliances are becoming stronger and new alliances are forming in the war to save our planet. Join us!
Donate to Portland Rising Tide’s Legal Defense Fund for Jonah, Sunny, Tim, and other dedicated activists.
PORTLAND, OR—A Portland Rising Tide activist today blockaded a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker, the MSV Fennica, from departing Portland after receiving repairs. The Fennica is part of Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet. Without key safety equipment carried by the vessel, Shell cannot finish experimental drilling in the Arctic. This action expanded the blockade opposition to Shell and Arctic drilling. Organizers hope to spark further direct action to avert local and global devastation from oil spills and climate change.
Climate justice activist Jonah Majure, a settler resident of Portland in occupied Multnomah land locked himself by the neck to a Burlington Northern rail bridge in NE Portland to further prevent the Fennica from leaving Portland. The bridge represents a choke point in the Fennica’s route because it must raise in order for the ship to depart Portland. Any attempt to raise the bridge with Jonah still attached would threaten his life. Jonah vowed to stay locked to the bridge until he is forcibly removed or until workers on MSV Fennica, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Governor Kate Brown or President Obama assert their power to put an end to Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic.
In preparation for his lockdown, Jonah accepted the personal risk, acknowledging, “This action was made necessary by the recklessness of so-called authorities complicit in the destruction of colonized indigenous land. I’m acting in solidarity with Indigenous communities around the world who are on the front lines of resource extraction on stolen lands. It’s time for the climate movement to move beyond individual issues and start looking at the greater systems of oppression like colonialism, racism and sexism that are destroying people and the planet.” He urges every individual and organization with the power to disrupt the extraction and transport of hydrocarbon fuels to act in solidarity with those defending their ancestral lands and livelihoods: “Our only hope of preventing catastrophic climate change and the genocide of Northern native peoples is to immediately halt all fossil fuel development.”
Global scientists have warned that at least 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned to avoid catastrophic global warming. Shell’s business venture to expand its oil reserves flies in the face of local and global attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Organizers are hoping the blockade and other actions against the Fennica will delay Arctic drilling and put pressure on local and national leaders to cease fossil fuel developments.
Biologist Carl Wassilie of the Yupiaq Nation in colonized Alaska, agreed: “Shell is violating the peace and security of humankind in the Arctic, continuing on the destructive path of putting indigenous peoples at extreme risk in an already rapidly changing climate. The policies of exploitation of the Arctic Ocean by the United States allowing international criminals, like Shell, not only go against hundreds of Alaska Tribal Governments resolutions opposed to offshore oil and gas activities; but go against Pope Francis’ Encyclical to end exploitative economic systems. The Pope calls on global society to ensure Reverence and Respect for Mother Earth. The human rights violations by the U.S. allowing Shell to drill into the Chukchi Sea infringes on the legal and moral obligation of society to protect and defend Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic.”
Battles with Shell over Arctic drilling in Portland and Seattle are seen by activists as an opening round of #FloodTheSystem—a continent-wide upsurge of grassroots disruption of the fossil fuel economy and all systems of oppression planned through December. As Jonah emphasized, “We cannot meaningfully address the climate crisis while leaving in place the systems of colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and out of control capitalism.”
For breaking updates, follow @pdxrisingtide, #FloodTheSystem, #ShellNo, and #PDXvsShell
For live interviews in Portland, around the clock, contact: Daphne Wysham, Center for Sustainable Economy: 202-510-3541 or 503-657-7336; Ken Ward, Lobster Boat Blockade, 503-504-3534; or Maya Jarrad, 350PDX: 802-598-2402; Nick Caleb, Our Children’s Trust, 541-891-676; Meredith Cocks, Portland Rising Tide, 703-994-6359.
(Portland, OR) The Fennica, Shell Oil’s damaged ice-breaker, began to move at 5:45 a.m. from the dock where it was being repaired for a damaged hull and was met with a blockade from Greenpeace activists hanging from the St. John’s Bridge –which was closed to traffic–and Climate Action Coalition kayaktivists on the water.
As reporters began to speculate on whether the protesters had a plan B, Daphne Wysham said “There is no Plan B, just as there is no Planet B; we have no intention of moving until President Obama rescinds the permit for Shell to drill in the Arctic.”
“On the hottest day in Portland, OR years, in two years, activists are prepared to stay as long as required,” said Nick Caleb, an attorney with Our Children’s Trust. “We are doing this for the children and for future generations to come. Shell cannot take their future away.”
The 24-hour vigil at Cathedral Park in Portland, OR, began on July 27 on the banks of the Willamette River in anticipation of the MSV Fennica’s departure. Once the Fennica departs, Shell plans to commence drilling in the Arctic. The Department of Interior has stated that there is a 75 percent chance of an oil spill in the Arctic once drilling commences, a spill which experts say would be virtually impossible to clean up, posing unacceptable risks to indigenous peoples and the marine environment. Shell is proposing to commence drilling in this untouched region—thanks to rapidly melting ice in the Arctic due to climate change– at a time when NASA’s former top climate scientist says we may see at least 10 feet of sea level rise by 2050.
“Scientists tell us we can’t drill in the Arctic if we want to avoid dangerous climate change and sea level rise that threatens three-quarters of the Earth’s major cities in the next few decades. Nevertheless, Shell is putting its corporate profits ahead of the future of the planet and preparing to drill in a region where an oil spill cannot be cleaned up. Portland kayaktivists are the last phalanx of resistance to this insanity,” said Daphne Wysham, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy in Portland, OR.
“In Portland and across the Northwest, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to act as a chokepoint in the transport of dirty coal, oil, and gas. For years, Portland has demonstrated powerful resistance to the shipping of coal and oil by rail, as well as tar sands mining equipment by road. We view the arrival of Shell’s icebreaker in Portland as another chance to disrupt new oil development and demonstrate that any and all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction is an unacceptable risk to our climate and future,” said Meredith Cox of Portland Rising Tide.
“Scientists are sounding the alarm, telling us we need to keep most of our known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This makes Shell’s extreme extraction adventure in the Arctic the definition of insanity. We’re talking about putting humanity, our entire planet’s livability at extreme risk. Portland is going to be taking a stand to say, ‘Shell No!’ We’re here fighting for humanity against the most wealthy and powerful industry in human history, but we’re not afraid, because everything we love and value in life is on the line,” said Maya Jarrad with 350PDX.
“Kayaktivists” and other protesters opposed to Shell Oil’s destructive Arctic drilling operations will mount a kayak flotilla protest in Portland, OR, Saturday, July 25, with the expected arrival of the Shell fleet’s damaged icebreaker, the Fennica, earlier in the day.
The “PDX vs. Shell” action will take place at the Swan Island boat ramp on the end of North Basin Ave. beginning at 3 p.m. July 25. The flotilla of kayaks and other boats will launch at 4 p.m. This is a legal action and family-friendly event. The protest is sponsored by Climate Action Coalition, 350 PDX and Portland Rising Tide.
The Fennica is arriving in Portland from Alaska for repairs to a damaged hull. It is scheduled to return to the Arctic in a few days where it will act as the ice-breaking ship for Shell oil drilling rigs and its support fleet, allowing Shell to commence delayed drilling operations off the Alaska coast.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are warming the Arctic faster than the rest of the globe, and the Arctic Ocean is rapidly becoming ice-free. The International Energy Agency warns that over two-thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground by 2050 to avert catastrophic climate disruption. In January, the journal Nature reported that to maintain even a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic global warming (beyond 2°C), there can be no drilling for Arctic oil. Nevertheless, Shell Oil is now exploring for oil in the Arctic with the permission of President Obama.
In a newly released study NASA’s former top climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, says that with a 2°C temperature increase sea levels could rise at least 10 feet as soon as the middle years of this century, inundating coastal cities and even reaching inland cities such as Portland. With 10 feet of sea level rise, the dry dock where the Fennica is scheduled to be repaired would be underwater.
This drilling also poses huge risks for local marine ecosystems The Arctic is a vital breeding and feeding ground for marine life, and home to numerous indigenous peoples who rely on a healthy marine environment for their survival. Offshore Arctic oil operations pose a 75 percent chance of a spill in the Arctic, the Department of the Interior calculates. The best expert opinion is that a spill would be virtually impossible to clean up.
Professional photos, interviews and a livestream video of the various actions on July 25 will be available to the press upon request. Follow our Twitter feeds at #PDXvsShell, #Floodthesystem and #ShellNo.
Join 350PDX, Rising Tide and the Climate Action Coalition To Oppose Arctic Oil Drilling!
The MSV Fennica–an icebreaker chartered by Shell– sustained damage on its voyage north and is scheduled for repairs at Vigor Industrial Shipyard in North Portland. The ship is a critical to Shell being able to drill this season.
WHEN: Meet at 3:00pm. We will launch the flotilla by 4:00pm and expect to be on the water roughly an hour.
WHERE: We will launch from the Swan Island Boat ramp, at the end of N Basin Ave.
Address for GPS: 5367 N Basin Ave., Portland, OR 97217
Transit: Bus 72, Stop ID 3315, at N. Lagoon & N. Anchor Sts. Then walk 1/2 mile north on Anchor St. and west on N. Basin Ave.
Parking: The parking lot at the Boat Dock will fill up, so come early and car-pool. A secondary parking lot will be available after the driver drops off passengers and kayaks, etc.
WHAT: Please bring your kayak, canoe or SUP. We are working hard to have boats available for rental (by donation). However, PLEASE NOTE if you do not bring your own boat we cannot guarantee you a boat. Bring a life jacket if you plan on boating. Also, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, drinking water.
On July 22, the Obama Administration gave its final stamp of approval to Shell Oil’s application to drill the Arctic. The Department of Interior analysis indicates a 75% chance of an Arctic Oil Spill during Shell’s 77-year lease.
It seems like just about every week Portland is receiving some sort of new award or recognition for sustainability. We certainly built up a legacy of ecological awareness early-on. Tom McCall, our republican governor in the 60’s and 70’s, advocated for protecting the Commons and cleaning up our watersheds and airsheds. Portland was also ahead of other cities in the West in its commitment to smart urban planning and transportation justice. It only makes sense that Portland is ground zero for the climate fight, but maybe not for the reasons one would think.
While we’ve been told by City Hall and the media that we’ve already won the struggle for a greener future here in Portland, the reality is even more twisted and dangerous than the fossil fuel metropolises of Calgary or Houston. While the dream of Little Beirut fades to the parody of Portlandia and the people trade their banners and blockades for hybrid cars and LEED-certified condos, the fossil fuel industry has found a way to entrench itself in our own communities without the public’s knowledge, consent, or resistance.
The list is exhausting and in progress, but we must understand how deep the fossil fuel industry has embedded itself to our city so we can deconstruct the system that empowers them to profit off violence against us all.
Companies like ESCO and Precision Castparts make their profits off creating the drill bits and wearable parts for physically destroying the Earth through tar sands, fracking, and mountaintop removal. Precision Castparts also profits off wars by building parts designed kill for access to fossil fuel control around the world.
HDR and CH2M Hill build the terminals, refineries, and other infrastructure projects that move fossil fuels from the ground to market. After the land and water is inevitably contaminated by their own projects, they win massive no-bid government contracts to clean up their own mess with taxpayer dollars.
And many companies directly move fossil fuels through Portland, often to be burned in Asia. Arc Logistics operates a 1.5 million-barrel capacity crude oil terminal, accepting oil trains from fracked and tar sands sources and ships it down the Willamette. Canadian company Pembina is planning on building a $500 million propane-by-rail export terminal from fracked oil and gas. The proposed site sits in an environmental protection area across from West Hayden Island, which will be hearing testimony on June 4th for a code change to allow for more fossil fuel facilities along our already-polluted rivers. And Kinder-Morgan, currently waging a war against the city of Burnaby over a massive and illegal tar sands pipeline on unceded First Nations land, is operating two petroleum terminals on the banks of the Willamette.
And of course, all of these businesses continue to directly pollute our air and watersheds right here in Portland on top of doing the same to frontline communities at all points of extraction and transportation. And their contributions to climate change threatens the existence of the vast majority of species on Earth, including our own.
To make matters worse, these industries receive subsidies, tax breaks, and loopholes that steal millions from the public while forcing us taxpayers to foot the bill for their environmental destruction. Accounting firms like Moss-Adams LLP specialize in helping these businesses figure out how to receive the most corporate welfare possible while also hiding their profits in tax havens overseas.
Most people don’t realize how entrenched the fossil fuel industry is in Portland. In fact, without Portland’s contributions, the fossil fuel industry and extraction would likely cease to function in its current capacity. But if we are such a sustainable city, and our government is truly passionate about fighting climate change, why aren’t they doing everything they can to shut these businesses down and strengthening our Climate Action Plan to recognize global impact on emissions?
Our local government and business institutions are supporting the fossil fuel industry from extraction to combustion, but they have greenwashed their image to make it consistent with the ideals of “Green” Capitalism. Portland has actually become a leader in creative branding and marketing, which includes the greenwashing of corporate polluters. Local public relations firms spin and obfuscate the facts on polluters while promising nothing more than “Jobs” that will apparently end our need for safe air, water, and food. PR firms like Gard Communications, Gallatin Public Affairs, Edelman, and CFM Communications are representing coal, oil, and gas terminals while simultaneously getting contracts from local institutions like Portland State, OPB, the Timbers, OnPoint Credit Union, and Travel Oregon.
Even institutions that are supposed to represent the interests of the environment and the community are playing a role in greenwashing the fossil fuel industry. SOLVE, one of Oregon’s largest environmental non-profits that was started by Tom McCall himself, gets volunteers to clean up litter and remove invasive species. However, the Board of Directors is almost entirely made up of members of the fossil fuel industry and Wall Street. Their Board of Directors then hands out sustainability leadership awards to themselves so their corporations can advertise their green credentials. The work of committed community members who volunteer to plant native species is then turned around to promote the same companies that pollute our air, water, and climate far beyond their role in putting a bandaid on the problem. With their brands on full display at all of SOLVE’s events, environmental stewardship is nothing more than a minor marketing investment to these companies that would destroy the entire planet for wealth.
This branding of a Green® Portland allows the fossil fuel industry to continue unobstructed and invigorated while innovating new marketing strategies as more communities around the world resist the fossil fuel industry. In Portland, we have dozens of companies that profit off extraction, transport, and consumption of fossil fuels while our elected officials do nothing to address the environmental, social, and economic costs to Portlanders as part of their operations.
Industry groups lobby our elected officials for tax breaks, subsidies, and permits to pollute our air and water. One group, the Association of Oregon Industries consists of a broad range of fossil fuel interests, Wall Street banks, timber companies that tear down our carbon-storing forests, and even the Koch Brothers.
Our city council is bought by the fossil fuel industry they claim to oppose, while they simultaneously praise their role in our community. Charlie Hales went through the revolving door to HDR and Dan Saltzman worked for CH2M Hill. Mayor Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the local fossil fuel industry and subsequently support their operations, including Fossil Fuel Charlie Hales investing $20 million of our city money in Exxon. Even Steve Novick’s largest donor is Greenbrier Cos. This is all in spite of City Council’s strong history of repeating rhetoric about climate justice.
Portland is a city with a legacy of ecological consciousness and its residents have been lied to. Right now we are the choke point for fossil fuel movements in Cascadia. Coal, oil, and gas are coming down the Columbia and right through our communities while an entire industry profits from extraction to combustion. With all current and proposed fossil fuel terminals South of the US border, Cascadia could transport five times as much carbon into the atmosphere as the Keystone XL, sealing our fate to climate catastrophe. If the fossil fuel industry can thrive in Portland through greenwashing and deceit, then they can continue elsewhere to extract and send profits to the wealthiest 1%. This new “Green” Capitalism is just as destructive as the old and with just as many marginalized communities as before.
But we need action now to physically stop the extraction, transport, and consumption of fossil fuels. We need to build solidarity across all communities within our city, our bioregion, and around the planet. A growing resistance is building against the fossil fuel industry in Portland with the Climate Action Coalition: environmental and social justice groups unified to participate in civil disobedience and direct action to stop the climate catastrophe. Climate change and the systems of oppression that cause it are the biggest threat to humanity that has ever existed, a threat that has been created by a wealthy elite in the name of profit and it’s our time to rise up at resist.
Faith, environmental and community members blocked the tracks into an oil transfer and storage facility in NW Portland for an hour Monday morning. Portland’s Climate Action Coalition sponsored the blockade at Arc Logistics for a memorial service on the two-year anniversary of the oil train derailment that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
The 60 participants in the memorial service held signs with the name and age of each person who died from the derailment’s massive explosion, which destroyed more than three dozen buildings in the Lac-Mégantic downtown. The unattended runaway train derailed and two dozen oil cars exploded in the middle of the night on July 6, 2013. The disaster is the most deadly explosion so far of oil from the new fracking development in North Dakota’s Bakken field, which holds an especially volatile mixture of oil and gas. Bakken oil is now regularly moved through Portland and Southern Washington.
For the unprecedented memorial blockade, Reverend Kate Lore, social justice minister at First Unitarian Church, Reverend Jayna Gieber of People of the Heart, and community organizer Bonnie McKinlay spoke to honor the lives lost in Lac-Mégantic and to call attention to the safety risks and climate damage created by the fossil fuel industry.
The Climate Action Coalition staged the memorial at Arc Logistics to call attention to the local and global risks from oil trains and climate change. “It’s corporate greed versus the common good, whether its rail safety or climate change,” said long time activist Lowen Berman. Today’s action coincides with others across the United States and Canada for “The Oil Train Week of Action,” a project sponsored by Forest Ethics and 350.org.
Oil trains travel weekly through North Portland to get to Arc Logistics. The Climate Action Coalition is calling for an end to fossil fuel development and an immediate transition to a renewable energy and an economy that values people and planet over profit.
After the memorial, activists with PDX Bike Swarm and PDX Valkyries unfurled a banner on top of a parked oil car reading, “We Remember Lac Mégantic, July 6, 2013 #SolidaritéMégantic #StopOilTrains.”
More photos from this action:
Photos: Kudos and deep thanks to Rick Rappaport, Gregory Sotir, Mia Reback, Ted Gleichman, and Victoria
Yesterday, June 24th, the Climate Action Coalition took to the streets and City Hall to call for an end to the destruction of the climate and its open endorsement of the local fossil fuel economy. Although City Council decided to strengthen key parts of the Climate Action Plan, they failed to make many much-needed changes and actively removed a provision accounting for the methane footprint of fracked gas.
The day started with an 8am rally by BikeLoudPDX to call for an end to our violent road system and the adoption of a Vision Zero policy for transportation justice in Portland. Car culture and the violent road system that was created to support it was an intentional product of the fossil fuel industry’s multi-generational lobbying efforts. Riders from the rally and the Tank of DOOM then moved to the rally point for the Climate Action Ride at 11am. After some local media coverage and sweet tunes from the Disco Trike, the Tank of DOOM and its 50-person escort was off!
The first stop, much to the joy of many rival news cameras, was the mouth of the fossil fuel industry itself, The Oregonian. The Oregonian has been a long-time advocate for the Pembina Propane-by-Rail Terminal in St. Johns, despite countless concerns about the safety and climate-sense of shipping propane cars from fracking and tar sands sources to China to be used in plastics.
The time has long been over to treat The Oregonian like serious credible journalism, especially after a series of full-page ads by Pembina in their printed tabloids not-so-subtly reveal who funds a significant portion of their ever-shrinking budget (and credibility).
The Tank of DOOM rode next to CFM Communications, conveniently located across the street from the Portland Building and City Hall. CFM represents Pembina, TransCanada, and Nestle as well as many public and well-known institutions.
“Local businesses that don’t participate directly in extraction, transfer, or sale of fossil fuels can still be climate profiteers. CFM Communications makes money trying to convince Portland that the Pembina propane export terminal would not be environmentally damaging or contribute to climate chaos. Effectively, they obscure the reality of Pembina’s reputation as a major polluter with their well-funded propaganda campaign. It’s objectionable to have local businesses profiting off the destruction of the planet. Their other clients and the public should be aware of their business practices.” – Nick Caleb, representing Our Children’s Trust on the Climate Action Coalition
Despite security locking the elevators to their office and numerous threats police eviction, we were able to occupy their lobby and show the city bureaus across the street who CFM was representing. The Tank of DOOM, to the cheers of a tour group, then moved onto the next target: Portland State University.
The Climate Riders occupied the lobby of PSU Administration, demanding accountability for the close ties Portland State’s board of trustees and the PSU Foundation have to fossil fuel extraction. Students and Alumni also talked about divestment and the fact that Peter Stott, a board member of megaload-haulin’ Omega-Morgan, has a building named after him.
As the rally participants prepared to move into City Hall to testify for a stronger Climate Action Plan, the ride continued onward to target another local public official who promotes climate catastrophe.
Despite threats from security, the Tank of DOOM escort parked in the courtyard of the building that held the offices of the Department of Environmental Quality, Bonneville Power Administration, Senator Wyden, and the bike-friendly Representative Blumenauer. Tori Cole of CAC and PDX Bike Swarm spoke about the DEQ’s frequent propensity to support fossil fuel expansions, despite histories of unpermitted operations and continual violations of state permitting laws. CAC members also spoke about the BPA and its masquerade as “green” energy. Dams like those the BPA operate are massive barriers to the river ecology, including salmon runs, that indigenous communities and forests in our bioregion depend on.
As folks spoke about the DEQ and BPA, members of Oregon Fair Trade Campaign dropped a banner from the top of a parking garage across the street, calling out Blumenauer for his support of the TPP FastTrack and its implications for fossil fuel exports and climate action. Fossil fuel companies could sue communities for passing laws that ban fossil fuel infrastructure, giving corporations more rights than communities or even the federal government.
The Climate Action Ride finally moved towards its last polluter, a heinous company that profits not only off climate change but also the wars fought over it: Precision Castparts. Precision Castparts makes equipment for fossil fuel extraction as well as airfoils for the non-functional F-35 jet that has cost the US taxpayers over $1 trillion. They are also Portland’s largest company and the #1 industrial air polluter in the entire US.
There is something particularly sickening when confronted with the fossil fuel economy we live in, creating almost every modern war, destroying our access to safe food, and keeping us from transportation justice. Even when politicians argue for stronger climate action, they often use it as an excuse to push for more displacement through housing injustice and gentrification.
Upon our return to City Hall and the Climate Action Plan hearing, the public was still not allowed to testify as industry groups and other groups friendly to the City’s climate inaction and greenwashing agenda continued to praise the City. Public testimony was extremely limited and almost all who signed up to testify for a stronger CAP were turned away. City Council didn’t even strengthen the existing CAP; they instead unanimously accepted a proposal from Michael Armstrong to remove a specific provision that acknowledges the city to account for fugitive methane emissions from fracking wells in reducing citywide emissions. He then proposed instead that the city praise NW Natural for retrofitting its local infrastructure to make it more sustainable, despite NW Natural’s dependence on fracking for its natural gas. City Council ended the day using the full weight of our City of Portland to greenwash NW Natural, a private fossil fuel corporation.
Members of the Climate Action Coalition are extremely disappointed with this greenwashing, and expect significant and constant public involvement in moving the implementation of the CAP forward, especially regarding equity concerns for local residents and future generations.
Stay tuned for when Portland Rising Tide exposes the depths of the fossil fuel industry in Mapping the PDX Fossil Fuel Corridor.