FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/19/14
Clatskanie, OR—Yesterday afternoon, climate justice group Portland Rising Tide and allies from Columbia County erected a 20-foot-tall tripod of steel poles to blockade the Port Westward oil terminal. Dozens of police, working at night under floodlights, were mobilized to remove 27-year-old Sunny Glover from the tripod’s apex. After an initial attempt to remove her with a bucket truck—which she foiled by locking her neck to one of the tripod’s poles—the police resorted to far more drastic and perilous measures.
In a surreal scene, the amassed law enforcement officers began using a circular saw to cut through the tripod’s legs in approximately foot-long increments, gradually lowering the structure to the ground amidst a shower of sparks from the saw. Glover’s neck remained locked to a pole the entire time. Each precarious cut threatened to topple the structure. About 40 protesters shouted words of encouragement from a nearby road until she was arrested and driven from the scene around 11:30pm.
“The courage my friend Sunny exhibited tonight was tremendous,” Scott Schroder said. “Unfortunately, she lives in a world of terrifying scenarios. She can either have her life jeopardized by the police or by catastrophic climate change and exploding oil trains. She chose to resist because she understands acquiescence is the greater peril.”
The terminal, operated by Massachusetts-based Global Partners, has been controversial since its inception. At the protest today were residents of the Columbia County towns of St. Helens, Scappoose, and Clatskanie, whose homes and businesses are within the blast zone should an oil train derail and explode. Rising Tide activists are demanding a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels in order to avert a climate catastrophe that would be felt for millennia.
Protesters were critical of the tremendous mobilization of public resources to dismantle the blockade—there were approximately 40 combined fire, police, and medical personnel on site—saying it amounted to essentially another subsidy for the fossil fuel industry.
“Taxpayers have already given Global Partners millions of dollars in clean energy construction subsidies, when we thought their facility was going to be an ethanol plant,” said David Osborn. “Now the public is handing over thousands more to keep the train tracks free of people outraged by their bait-and-switch.”
This summer, Rising Tide collectives have blockaded oil train facilities in Washington and Oregon five times. The groups say they are working toward mass mobilizations that will significantly impede the ability of oil to be transported by rail in the Pacific Northwest.
“We will be back,” Schroder said. “Over and over again. And we’re bringing more people every time.”
PHOTOS, VIDEO, AUDIO: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8Tw30qC0uQib2xlLXk0cERaeVk&usp=sharing_eil
09/18 ACTION PRESS RELEASE: https://drive.google.com/?usp=folder&authuser=0#folders/0B8Tw30qC0uQib2xlLXk0cERaeVk
BACKGROUND ON OREGON OIL TRAINS AND THE CLIMATE CRISIS: https://portlandrisingtide.org/oil-trains-oregon-bakken-shale-uinta-basin-climate-crisis/