Sunday, June 3, marked the last transit of tar sands modules through Spokane and a rambunctious send-off by Wild Idaho and Spokane Rising Tide and Occupy Spokane activists. At 7:30 pm in the Magic Lantern Theatre, about 35 concerned Spokane citizens converged to watch the incisive documentary Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands and to discuss emerging local and continent-wide struggles around one of the most compelling environmental issues of our time: tar sands development near Fort McMurray, Alberta. As we grew weary of uncertain and false ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil shipment finales but nonetheless plotted our last Spokane megaload protest for that night, our Port of Pasco scout informed us just before the public screening that more Big Oil behemoths were poised to rumble through Spokane streets. At the movie showing and lively debate, we alerted attendees of their immediate opportunity to take action against the topic of the film. Considering the last transports’ historical significance, Terry Hill of Occupy Spokane posted a facebook event simply and aptly titled “Megaloads, Sunday, June 3, 2012.” Folks met at the Occupy Spokane Clubhouse at 11 pm before traveling to Third and Regal streets to tell ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil one more time, “not in our town.”
Even though convoy personnel had erected orange cones on the north/freeway side of East Third Avenue, to block our tactical parking on both sides of the street, we crowded the two lane stretch with our banner hanging from the pedestrian bridge and our bodies, protest signs, and vehicles lining the ruined road to America’s Mordor. Mayhem ensued as one of the largest of three tar sands modules passed within inches of outstretched arms and signs and a support vehicle darted back and forth behind it to survey width clearances. A city police officer across the street waved three passenger vehicles following the loads onward with a flashlight, when a stop sign-mimicking protest sign asserting “Stop Tar Sands” inadvertently halted them. One of the demonstrators captured the convoy CB radio chatter with his video, Megaload Spokane 6/4/2012, documenting the (hopefully) last megaloads to challenge the Northwest, available here with a few Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos. WIRT hosted Terry Hill of Occupy Spokane on our June 11 Climate Justice Forum radio program, talking about this final demonstration, other Spokane anti-megaload protests, and the Lilac City’s occupy movement and clubhouse.