Protesters target meeting at megaload company

The Associated Press — December 12, 2013– Portland, OR  —  Protesters in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro interrupted a meeting Thursday at the headquarters of a moving company transporting a truckload of oil refinery equipment to a tar sands project in Canada.

About 30 protesters walked through the company’s gates and into the meeting, where they blocked a projector screen, sang songs and left peacefully, protesters and police said.

Hillsboro police spokesman Michael Rouches said no one was cited or arrested.

“They were very peaceful,” Rouches said. “They were saying whatever they needed to say, and they split.”

The protesters from Portland Rising Tide object to Hillsboro, Ore.-based Omega Morgan’s involvement in hauling equipment for the tar sands project, which they say will irreversibly damage the environment, and what they see as capitulation by the government to a corporation without allowing for public input.

Calls to Omega Morgan were not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

Omega Morgan is operating a giant rig, 380 feet long and 22 feet wide, hauling a megaload of water purification equipment from the Port of Umatilla in Oregon, destined for Alberta, Canada.

Environmentalists have objected to the shipment, saying it adds to global warming.

The rig is allowed to travel only at night and must pull over at intervals to let traffic by. The convoy includes about 20 people. Winter weather has slowed its progress, as have other protests.

Umatilla tribal members say they weren’t adequately consulted by the government about the load’s trip through Eastern Oregon territory, where they have a treaty interest and concerns about potential damage.

Including transport vehicles, the shipment weighs about 900,000 pounds, or 450 tons. The equipment itself is a little more than a third of the weight, about 330,000 pounds.

It is scheduled to go through Idaho and Montana before it gets to Canada.