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