Stop the Tar Sands Megaloads in Oregon!


Stop the Tar Sands Megaloads in Oregon!

We are calling on your stalwart perseverance in leading frontline efforts to halt Cascadia-wide tar sands megaload shipments to further stop the creation of a new Northwest industrial corridor and all new fossil fuel infrastructure construction.  To meet these goals, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are advocating direct action opportunities in challenging but exhilarating circumstances – during consecutive, dark, cold, winter nights along a remote 315-mile route.  Please join 350, No Keystone XL, Oregon All Against the Haul, Portland Rising Tide, and WIRT, and Northwest activists of Deep Green Resistance, Earth First!, Idle No More, and Occupy on Sunday, December 1, to make a stand, a difference, and history.  We plan to confront the first of purportedly three tar sands megaloads traversing Oregon, national forest, and Umatilla and Warm Springs tribal lands this winter.  Currently parked at the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, near McNary Beach Recreation Area, the first Omega Morgan-hauled transport will encounter our rally in Umatilla on Sunday evening and further protesting and monitoring activities during the six or more nights when it crosses Oregon, before its two-week trip across southern Idaho and western Montana.  Everyone is welcome to participate in any of the direct and solidarity actions that people in Portland and throughout the region are coordinating, as we follow and observe the shipment and demonstrate our outrage with the Alberta tar sands mining expansion that it facilitates.

Sunday, December 1 Rally Schedule:

4 pm: Scout the megaload route in daylight from the Port of Umatilla, Roxbury Road, Umatilla

6 pm: Meet for an information session at the Desert River Inn conference room, 705 Willamette Avenue, Umatilla

7:30 pm: Rally at the Port of Umatilla and beyond, Roxbury Road, Umatilla

If you are attending, please respond to WIRT and fill out this RSVP form, to stay well connected to happenings.

As megaload locations and situations unfold, organizers will update information in this event description and at associated website and facebook pages:

All Against the Haul: The-Haul: The-Heavy-Haul

Facebook: All Against the Haul

Coal March: Megaloads

Coal March: Megaload Videos

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Facebook: Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Background Information

(Also see these WIRT reports and action alerts.)

No Tar Sands Megaloads in Oregon! (November 23)

Eastern Oregon Megaload Public Meetings (November 15) Continue reading

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Omega Morgan Oregon Travel Plan and Documents


Oregon Department of Transportation News Release 11-18-13

Oregon Department of Transportation News Release 11-22-13

Oregon Traffic Control Plan Final 1273 11-22-13

Oregon Traffic Control Plan Final 1273 12-6-13

Omega Morgan Oregon Permit 165939383 11-22-13

Omega Morgan Oregon Permit 140421147 12-3-13

Omega Morgan Oregon Permit 12-12-13

Oregon Megaload Route

Omega Morgan Explains Delay


The first of three megaloads bound for Canada was delayed leaving the Port of Umatilla on Sunday night, as crews worked longer than expected to secure the enormous vessel onto trucks, according to industrial hauler Omega Morgan.

And while the shipment is now ready to move, spokeswoman Holly Zander said the decision was made on Monday to hold off again so workers could enjoy Thanksgiving weekend with their families.  Omega Morgan was already required to pull over for the holiday as part of its permit with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Instead, the transport is now scheduled to depart on Sunday, December 1, from the port industrial park.  It will begin traveling south on Highway 395 through Hermiston, before heading east on Interstate 84 into Pendleton.

From there, the megaload will continue south through the John Day Valley and east across state lines into southern Idaho.  Its final destination is Alberta, Canada, delivering equipment for refineries in the tar sands project.

Climate activists oppose providing a route on Oregon’s highways for the megaloads.  About 20 protesters arrived on Sunday and Monday nights, to rally against what they believe will only contribute to global warming.

Zander said the protests had nothing to do with delays, nor is Omega Morgan experiencing any other mechanical problems. Continue reading

Oregon Objections: Not Enough Megaload Notice


The start of a megaload shipment of oil refinery equipment through Eastern Oregon has been put off until Sunday, and objections have been raised in Eastern Oregon that the state didn’t do enough to notify tribal and local government officials.

The shipment has also drawn protests from environmentalists gathered Sunday and Monday at the Port of Umatilla.  They want to call attention to the global warming repercussions that could come from development of oil from the tar sands in western Canada.

The shipment weighing 901,000 pounds remained at the Port of Umatilla on Tuesday, two days after it was scheduled to move. Continue reading

Another Megaload No-Go


Megaload is Parked until Sunday, December 1

Protesters huddle in the dark out in front of the 450-ton megaload of oil refinery equipment on Monday at the Port of Umatilla (East Oregonian/E.J. Harris photo).

Another Megaload No-Go - East Oregonian

As promised, about 20 protesters gathered on toe-numbing Sunday and Monday nights at the Port of Umatilla, to rally against the first of three “megaloads” hauling massive refinery equipment into the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

Yet the shipment never budged, sitting under towering floodlights, while workers with the Hillsboro-based Omega Morgan continue to prepare the oversize transport for its first leg south through Hermiston and east into Pendleton.

The 380-foot-long, 23-foot-wide trucking behemoth was supposed to hit the road by Sunday, then by Monday, according to a traffic advisory from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).  Instead, ODOT posted on TripCheck.com that the transport will begin traveling on December 1.

Climate activists oppose providing a route on Oregon’s highways for something they said will contribute to increased carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.  On Sunday, Jim Powers of Albany also said that ODOT rushed to permit the project without enough public input. Continue reading

Protesters Challenge Megaloads


Protesters demonstrating against a megaload bound for a tar sands mining site in Canada gather in front of it at the Port of Umatilla on Sunday evening. The 300-foot-long, 20-foot-high transport scheduled to travel through Hermiston on Monday night has been rescheduled to leave on Sunday, December 1 (Hermiston Herald/Colin Murphey photo).

Protesters demonstrating against a megaload bound for a tar sands mining site in Canada gather in front of it at the Port of Umatilla on Sunday evening. The 300-foot-long, 20-foot-high transport scheduled to travel through Hermiston on Monday night has been rescheduled to leave on Sunday, December 1 (Hermiston Herald/Colin Murphey photo).

More shipments from port coming

About a dozen protesters from across the state braved subfreezing temperatures on Sunday night at the Port of Umatilla, to deliver the message that they do not want megaloads on Oregon roads.

Megaloads are unusually large pieces of equipment transported on specially made trailers.  The megaload that was scheduled to pass through Hermiston on Monday night was almost 400 feet long, more than 20 feet wide, and almost 20 feet high.  It was bound for the controversial tar sands oil and gas exploration sites in Alberta, Canada.

The cargo consisted of water purification equipment that will eventually end up at one of the many tar sands sites in Alberta.  The company hauling the megaload, Omega Morgan of Hillsboro, specializes in heavy-freight transportation.

Protest organizer Jim Powers said the group members were demonstrating to voice their displeasure that the megaload was given the green-light to travel through Oregon and what it represented on a larger scale. Continue reading

Communication Sparse on Megaload Issues


Scotta Callister, John Day, Oregon

Blue Mountain Eagle 11/25/13

When it comes to the idea of megaloads rolling through Grant County, residents have been far from united.  The reactions were all over the map after Omega Morgan’s plan to make night runs through the county en route to Idaho and Montana, with huge equipment destined for the tar sands of Canada, was revealed earlier this month.

Some folks are getting out the lawn chairs and video cameras to watch the first big rig roll through.  Others see the transport as the symbol of corporate greed and America’s overuse of natural resources; protests are possible.  In the middle are a lot of folks who are just plain bemused and baffled by the fuss.

We come by this mixed state naturally – In part, it’s the product of too little information, too hastily purveyed.  The public deserved a little more time to digest the plans and consider the ramifications.

A public meeting, pulled together by the county judge last week, elicited some information from an Omega Morgan project manager, but it didn’t answer all the concerns, and in the end, it had no effect on whether or when the first superload would begin its move. Continue reading

Protesters Show Up, Megaload Doesn’t Budge


As promised, about 20 protesters gathered on a toe-numbing Sunday night and waited for the first of three “megaloads” to leave the Port of Umatilla, hauling massive refinery equipment into the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

Yet the shipment never budged, sitting under towering floodlights, while workers with the Hillsboro-based Omega Morgan continued to prepare the oversized transport for its first leg south through Hermiston and east into Pendleton.

Climate activists oppose providing a route on Oregon highways for a vessel they said will contribute to increased carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.  Jim Powers of Albany also said the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) rushed to permit the project without enough public process. Continue reading

No Tar Sands Megaloads in Oregon!


Oregon Omega Morgan Megaload Diagram High-Definition

[MONDAY UPDATE: The relentless warriors against tar sands megaloads NEED YOU on the frontlines with us TONIGHT, as the first, heaviest, and longest megaload of tar sands mining equipment ever to transgress Umatilla and Warm Springs aboriginal homelands in eastern Oregon launches on Monday night, November 25.  The 901,000-pound, 376-foot-long behemoth hauled by Omega Morgan never left the Port of Umatilla as scheduled on Sunday night, although 20 protesters from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington expressed their outrage with chants, musical instruments, banners, and signs, as documented with regional media articles and forthcoming photos and videos.  Please contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies by phone or email and/or meet us at 6 pm in the Desert River Inn lobby at 705 Willamette Avenue in Umatilla, Oregon.  We will be gathering, strategizing, and preparing for historic protesting and monitoring activities starting at 7 pm at the Port of Umatilla.  Join this epic resistance to the first Alberta tar sands megaload in Oregon!  Besides protesters, we need monitors along every mile of Omega Morgan’s path, to gather evidence for lawsuits emerging soon.  Please bring (or borrow our) protest signs, banners, and equipment, musical instruments and voices, audio and video recorders, cameras, notepads, and your spirit of solidarity and freedom of expression.]

Late on Friday afternoon, November 22, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued a permit to Hillsboro, Oregon-based heavy-hauler Omega Morgan, who intends to begin moving the first, heaviest, and longest megaload of tar sands mining equipment ever to transgress Umatilla and Warm Springs aboriginal homelands in eastern Oregon on Sunday night, November 24 [1, 2, 3].  Embarking from the Port of Umatilla, the “water purification vessel and parts,” like the evaporator core that just traversed northern Idaho on November 10 to 13, will compromise traveling citizens’ safety and convenience and Americans’ shared highway and bridge infrastructure along segments of Interstate 84, U.S. Highways 20, 26, 395, and 730, and Oregon Highway 201 [4, 5, 6].  Although the module measures only 98 feet long and weighs 330,000 pounds, the total transport system of heavy-duty pull and push semi-trucks, specialized trailers, and their cargo stretch out 380 feet, weigh 901,000 pounds, crowd both 12-foot lanes of two-lane highways with their 23-foot width, and cannot clear 16-foot-tall overpasses with their 19-foot heights [7, 8].  Eight crew members and tillermen steering the equipment through sharp corners and several pilot and flagger vehicles guiding traffic in front and behind the convoy, as well as an ambulance and full-service repair truck, will accompany the oversized freight that contains no hazardous materials, fuels, or liquids [9].  Its dimensions rival the longest and heaviest megaloads ever encountered in northern Idaho and western Montana since the issue arose in spring 2010.

Restricted to overnight travel between 8 pm and 6 am, to purportedly reduce impacts on other travelers, this first of at least three giant evaporator parts cannot delay traffic for more than 20 minutes.  The other two megaloads also arrived at the Port of Umatilla on November 21 and could move on the same route in late November and December.  To allow oncoming and following motorists to pass, the dozen or more vehicles in the convoy will stop other traffic and/or pull over every five to seven miles, as they use on and off ramps to avoid Interstate 84 overpasses between Stanfield and Pendleton and head southeast through Umatilla, Grant, Baker, and Malheur counties, to the state border near Homedale, Idaho.  Due to numerous highway curves, climbs, and descents, especially in the slow sections of Highway 395, this inaugural megaload could require six days to cross Oregon in the best conditions or longer, when inadvertent weather, snow and ice on road surfaces, or holiday traffic impede its onslaught.  Omega Morgan and ODOT have not determined its exact schedule. Continue reading

Megaload on the Road Again


Megaload on the Road Again - East Oregonian

All signs indicate that a massive shipment of oil refinery equipment destined for Canada will embark Sunday night from the Port of Umatilla, traveling through Eastern Oregon before the load eventually crosses state lines into southern Idaho.

And while the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have not come out in opposition of the megaload itself, they and others do have concerns about the process.  CTUIR spokesman Chuck Sams said the state had not consulted with the tribes about the project heading through their ceded territory, as required by law.

The tribes are not planning any formal protests, Sams said, but another group of climate activists is planning to arrive from across the state for a peaceful demonstration at the Port of Umatilla. Continue reading