After Protests, Weather Delays, Megaload Finally Takes Off for Canada


On Monday, December 2, 2013, light brigade action team protesters Rod Lyman and Kathy Leathers of Bellingham, Washington, hold up signs, as a megaload slowly passes by on Highway 395 in Hermiston, Oregon.  The transport rig carries a 450-ton piece of equipment bound for a tar sands development site in western Canada (Associated Press/E.J. Harris photo).

On Monday, December 2, 2013, light brigade action team protesters Rod Lyman and Kathy Leathers of Bellingham, Washington, hold up signs, as a megaload slowly passes by on Highway 395 in Hermiston, Oregon. The transport rig carries a 450-ton piece of equipment bound for a tar sands development site in western Canada (Associated Press/E.J. Harris photo).

On Monday, December 2, 2013, a megaload slowly moves south on Highway 395 through Hermiston, Oregon.  The transport rig carries a 450-ton piece of equipment bound for a tar sands development site in western Canada (Associated Press/E.J. Harris photo).

On Monday, December 2, 2013, a megaload slowly moves south on Highway 395 through Hermiston, Oregon. The transport rig carries a 450-ton piece of equipment bound for a tar sands development site in western Canada (Associated Press/E.J. Harris photo).

Fighting repeated delays and protests, the first of three controversial “megaloads” finally left the Port of Umatilla Monday night with massive equipment bound for the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.

The shipment was scheduled to leave Sunday, but climate activists from across the Northwest effectively blocked its path during an active demonstration inside the port industrial park.

Two protesters – Leonard George Higgins, 61, and Arnold George Schroder, 35 – were arrested after they locked themselves onto the enormous rig using a heavy steel tubes known as “black bears.” It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished it was 11:30 p.m.

Higgins and Schroder were booked into the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and released Monday. But the action lasted long enough for industrial transporter Omega Morgan to stall the first leg of its route through Hermiston.

The megaload was also delayed a week ago, when the company said it took longer than expected to secure the vessel onto trucks. It was permitted by the Oregon Department of Transportation to leave as early as November 24, but the company decided to wait until after Thanksgiving weekend. Continue reading

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900,000-Pound Tar Sands Megaload Umatilla Departure Delayed by Full Day by Locked-Down Climate Activists


On Sunday night, December 1 and 2, Portland climate activist and KBOO community radio reporter Michael Gaskill captured recordings of the 50-person protest of a massive transport attempting to leave the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, to cross eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to Alberta tar sands mining operations.  Between 2:30 and 15:17 of the Monday, December 2, 2013 KRFP Evening Report, Radio Free Moscow broadcasts the sounds of demonstrators walking into the port yard of the parked megaload as well as interviews with activists Leonard Higgins and Scott Schroder while locked-down to the truck pulling the shipment.  Delays caused by the protest and lock-downs postponed shipment movement for the night.

Megaload Delayed in Umatilla by Protest


Climate activists won the night Sunday, effectively stalling the first of three controversial “megaloads” from leaving the Port of Umatilla on schedule.

Two protesters were arrested after they locked themselves onto the side and underneath the truck hauling massive equipment to the oil fields in Canada. It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished it was 11:30 p.m.

About 50 people representing grassroots environmental groups, as well as the local Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, arrived late Sunday to speak out against the megaloads and industrial transporter Omega Morgan.

Once the shipment appeared ready to hit the road, the group crossed into the lot carrying signs and chanting, “No tar sands on tribal lands!” The two protesters were then able to lock onto the truck using heavy steel tubes known as “black bears.”

Officers moved most people back across the property boundary while they worked to detach and arrest the men. But it was later announced shortly before midnight the megaload would not move. Continue reading