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).
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 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
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