Megaload Departs


Law enforcement officers carry Cathy Sampson-Kruse to a patrol car, before placing her under arrest for disorderly conduct on Monday at the Port of Umatilla. Sampson-Kruse laid down in front of the megaload truck, in an attempt to prevent its departure. The megaload is currently stalled on Highway 395 south of Pendleton by weather (Hermiston Herald/Colin Murphey photo).

Law enforcement officers carry Cathy Sampson-Kruse to a patrol car, before placing her under arrest for disorderly conduct on Monday at the Port of Umatilla. Sampson-Kruse laid down in front of the megaload truck, in an attempt to prevent its departure. The megaload is currently stalled on Highway 395 south of Pendleton by weather (Hermiston Herald/Colin Murphey photo).

Three protesters arrested on Sunday and Monday

Protesters opposing the transportation of oil refinery equipment to Canada gained momentum Sunday night and then lost ground Monday night, as the megaload departed from the Port of Umatilla and inched its way through Hermiston.

Three protesters attempting to block progress of the nearly 400-foot-long rig bound for tar sand sites in Alberta, Canada, were arrested on Sunday and Monday nights.  Approximately 40 demonstrators gathered on Sunday to protest the movement of megaloads through Oregon.  Kayla Godowa-Tufti of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs said she came to the site because tribal rights were being violated.

“This permit was granted without a government-to-government consultation as required by law,” Godowa-Tufti said.  “The State of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is required by law to consult with tribes.  The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have not been consulted.  These things threaten areas that are dear to us.  We don’t want this to be a permanent highway for these things.”

After being delayed twice before, the megaload, carried by heavy-haul specialists Omega Morgan of Hillsboro, was scheduled to depart on Sunday night between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am, according to the permit granted by ODOT.  As the truck hauling the megaload prepared to depart around 10 pm, the crowd of protesters surged forward toward law enforcement officers.  The group huddled together, chanting “We don’t want your megaloads,” before being asked by law enforcement to move off the property.  The group acquiesced to that request before resuming their former position on the road.  Whether the timing was intentional or not, the surge forward gave two protesters time to lock themselves to the truck. Continue reading

900,000-Pound Megaload Moves 40 Miles, One Arrest


KRFP Radio Free Moscow interviews Ziggy, who attempted with a Umatilla tribal grandmother to block the Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload departing the Port of Umatilla on Monday, December 2, before its permitted starting time of 8 pm.  Ziggy explains the circumstances of the protest, her arrest, and five other megaload resisting actions throughout the night at Hermiston, the Highway 395 bridge over Interstate 90, an interstate off-ramp, in Pendleton, and at the final megaload parking spot.  Excerpts of a Climate Justice Forum interview with Leonard Higgins describe his and fellow arrestee Scott Schroder’s preparation, experiences, and resulting success in stopping the megload from leaving the port by personally locking to it.  Listen to both conversations between 21:23 and 7:12 of the Tuesday, December 3, 2013 KRFP Evening Report, Idaho Health Care.

Umatilla Ceremony at Halted Tar Sands Megaload in Pendelton, Oregon


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Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and friends gathered on December 3, 2013, in Pendleton, Oregon, to a hold ceremony at the site where the Omega Morgan “megaload” remains.

The Oregon Department of Transportation confirmed that freezing weather and last night’s snow storm have prevented the load from moving.

Elders and many young leaders from CTUIR came out to speak from their hearts about how this haul will threaten the values and traditions that they hold so dearly in the Columbia River Plateau. Continue reading

Protesters Block Megaload at Port of Umatilla


Protesters Block Megaload at Port of Umatilla - Associated Press

A protester raises his fist in the air after learning that Omega Morgan has called off moving the megaload on Sunday at the Port of Umatilla, Oregon (Associated Press photo).

Protesters locked themselves to a transport rig bearing a 450-ton piece of oil refinery equipment and blocked its departure on Sunday night from the Port of Umatilla.

It was bound for a tar sands oil development in western Canada.  Environmentalists object to the shipment for its potential to worsen global warming, and tribal members say they’re worried about the possibility of environmental damage in eastern Oregon, where they assert a treaty interest and say they weren’t adequately consulted.

Two protesters were arrested after they used heavy steel tubes to lock themselves to the truck, the East Oregonian reported.  It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished, it was 11:30 pm.

Because it blocks traffic, the 380-foot-long megaload is allowed to move only at night, mainly on U.S. Highways 395 and 26 through sparsely populated parts of eastern Oregon.

A crowd estimated at about 50 environmentalists and tribal members had gathered at the port. Continue reading