Umatilla Blockade Victory! Megaloads Delayed Another Night
Two activists who locked down to the megaload leaving from the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, this evening have been arrested, but not before an announcement from Oregon Department of Transportation that the megaloads will not be moved for another night!
ODOT showed concern that the megaload would not make it to Pendelton by 6 AM, as their permit required. The truck is off and most of the workers have left.
No police are in sight, and a contingent of activists will remain to ensure that the megaload does not try to move.
The activists locking down were cheered on and supported by a human blockade that helped to stop the megaload in its tracks for more than two hours. The crowd raised chants, such as “Whose land? Cayuse land!” and “No tar sands on tribal lands!,” and sang songs including Twister Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It!”
On its way to the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, the 900,000 lbs megaload is slated to move through sensitive ecosystems and decaying infrastructure throughout Eastern Oregon and Idaho.
Involved in the protest were Rising Tide chapters, 350.org, and members of the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes.
According to Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford, “We have responsibility for what happens on our lands, but there are no boundaries for air, the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all. The Nez Pierce tribe said no to megaloads, and so should we.”
Warm Springs tribal member Kayla Godowa explained, “It’s our duty to protect the native salmon runs in this area. They want to make this a permanent heavy haul route without even consulting our tribes. Loads like this are unprecedented here. What if a bridge collapses? And what about the impact to native communities being destroyed by the tar sands where this equipment will end up? We can’t just look the other way while native lands and the climate are being destroyed. We have to stand up.”
It is important to remember that, although victory has been secured for one night, the struggle against the megaloads crossing the US is far from over—even this single megaload will find ongoing and cascading resistance as it attempts to make its way through Oregon and Idaho. And it will not likely be the last megaload to pursue this path of destruction on the way to what some scientists have called “the most environmentally destructive project on earth.”
To help support the blockade and get the blockaders out of jail, please donate to the support fund at portlandrisingtide.org/donate.
Also, please call (541) 966-3632, and insist that they release the arrested activists immediately.