Portland Rising Tide: 15 Activists Arraigned, Total Bail Set At $150k Following Blockade Of Tar Sands Megaloads

BAILOUTCross-posted from Portland Rising Tide



Media contacts:

Trip Jennings, Portland Rising Tide – tripjennings1@gmail.com – 541.729.3294

David Osborn, Portland Rising Tide – david@portlandrisingtide.org – 503.516.8932


John Day, OR: The people arrested Monday night blockading the tar sands megaload were arraigned today in the Justice Court of Grant County. Fourteen were charged with five misdemeanors, one with six and the minor arrested in the action was released Monday. Each person has had bail set at $ 10,000 for a total of $ 150,000. The arrests stem from the two blockades that were set up Monday night using two disabled vehicles to stop the controversial, 450-ton, 376-foot long tar sands megaload transported by Omega Morgan, which was delayed for several hours.

The action Monday was the sixth regional action against the Oregon megaloads in two weeks. The actions started when two were arrested successfully preventing the megaload from leaving the Port of Umatilla on December 1st. A member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla was arrested December 2nd trying to block the megaload. Office occupations and disruptions have taken place at Omega Morgan’s offices in Fife, WA and Hillsboro, OR, as well as the General Electric subsidiary that designed the machinery moving towards the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta.

Those arrested Monday included support personal not involved in the action. Of those arrested 12 were not involved in the blockade and were standing on the side of the road to take photographs, document the police response and provide medical assistance if needed. They were not given cease and desist orders, nor told to leave by the police prior to being arrested. Police also used violence on the individuals that were part of the blockade in an attempt to coerce them into unlocking themselves.

“I was away from the actual blockades and present to support the people taking action. I was arrested without warning and charged with the same thing as those who locked down”, said Johnathan Batchelor who was arrested, “This aggravated and inappropriate response is the opposite of what is needed. The real criminals are Omega Morgan and the companies involved in the tar sands which fuel the climate crisis”.

Omega Morgan says this is the first of three megaload shipments through the region. Former routes through Idaho were blocked by an injunction filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, following major protests in Idaho and Montana. Similar opposition from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla is growing in Oregon and Gary Burke, Chair of the Umatilla Reservation’s Board of Trustees, recently delivered a letter to Governor Kitzhaber expressing opposition to the megaloads due to lack of consultation with the tribes and the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change.

Portland Rising Tide, a member of an alliance of groups organizing against the megaloads, continues to mobilize support for ongoing opposition to these and any future megaloads. During the summer some 400 people signed a pledge expressing willingness to participate in non-violent civil disobedience and direct action to address the climate crisis. “We will continue to resist the tar sands megaloads and all other fossil fuel infrastructure, including the oil, coal and gas terminals proposed for the NW, “ said David Osborn of Portland Rising Tide, “All new fossil fuel extraction must be halted, communities are being destroyed and the climate is being imperiled. The equipment transported by Omega Morgan will expand the tar sands and devastate communities in northern Alberta and throughout the world. It is immoral and we will do everything we can to stop it.”

Photos available from freelance journalist Alex Milan Tracy of December 1st and 12th actions:



Photos of Monday’s action will be forthcoming when the cameras are released by the Grant County police.

16 Arrested as Climate Justice Groups Halt Controversial Tar Sands Megaload in Oregon

mega loads

Note: Image not from Monday. Photo & video teams arrested, still awaiting images.


Media contacts:

Yoko Silk, Portland Rising Tide – yokita@gmail.com; 541-517-7766

Stephen Quirke, Portland Rising Tide – stephen.quirke@ncf.edu – 941-525-0076


John Day, OR: On Monday Dec 16, climate justice groups stopped the movement of a controversial shipment of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands. Concerned citizens locked themselves to two disabled vehicles in front of the 901,000 pound load blocking it’s route along highway 26 outside of John Day. Police responded and arrested 16 at the two blockade sites using pain compliance to extract them.

Tonight’s action is the latest in a series of protests that have erupted in OR and WA since the megaload began to move. The load was first blocked on December 1st, when two people locked themselves to the truck as an estimated 70 others rallied nearby, including many Umatilla Tribal members. The next night one Umatilla tribal elder was arrested while blocking the load.

Two weeks ago in Fife, WA members of Rising Tide occupied the megaload shipper Omega Morgan’s office, and did so again last week in Portland, OR after disrupting a meeting. The group also occupied an office of a General Electric subsidiary in Bellevue, WA that manufactured the equipment being shipped. The group is calling for Omega Morgan and other companies to stop shipping or otherwise facilitating tar sands development. Events tonight marked the 6th regional action against megaloads in just over two weeks.

The 901,000 lb mega load is hauling a heat exchanger to the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta, Canada. The load is 22 feet wide, 18 feet tall and 376 feet in length. A similarly-sized load toppled Tuesday evening in Gladstone, OR, blocking part of I-205 for hours. Omega Morgan says this is  the first of three megaload shipments through the region, though it is likely the company needs this route indefinitely, as their former route through Idaho was blocked by an injunction filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, following major protests in Idaho and Montana.

In a recent letter to Governor Kitzhaber, Gary Burke, Chair of the Umatilla Reservation’s Board of Trustees, expressed opposition to the megaloads due to lack of consultation with the tribes and the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change. He also emphasized the legal requirement of state agencies like the Oregon Department of Transportation to consult tribal representatives before engaging in actions that affect Oregon Tribes, as Kitzhaber mandated in Executive Order 96-30. He also called attention to the role of tar sands extraction in harming indigenous people and fueling global climate change.

Groups organizing the protest in Eastern Oregon, including chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, oppose the shipments due to their ultimate role in extracting Alberta tar sands, which would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL, and facilitate what many have called the most destructive industrial project on Earth. Umatilla Tribal Member Shana Radford said, “We have responsibility for what happens on our lands, but there are no boundaries for air, and the carbon dioxide this equipment would create affects us all. The Nez Perce tribe said no to megaloads, and so should we.”


Megaload Protestors Take-Over Bellevue Office


Rising Tide Seattle outside GE’s offices in Bellvue, WA.

Megaload Protestors Take-Over Bellevue Office

*Contact: Karen Looney, Spectrum@riseup.net <Spectrum@riseup.net>,

312-813-6306 *

*Thursday, December 12, 2013*

BELLEVUE, WA –  Today, over a dozen protestors with the group Rising Tide Seattle took over the offices of a General Electric subsidiary to protest their role in the tar sands oil extraction project in Canada. Protestors are concerned about equipment designed by General Electric’s “Thermal Products” business for use in heavy oil extraction in the tar sands. The equipment is currently being transported across eastern Oregon on an oversized load, referred to as “megaloads”. Protestors delivered a letter and occupied the office disrupting work for about an hour.

“By designing and shipping this tar sands equipment General Electric is facilitating the genocide of first nations communities in Alberta, destruction of the Boreal forest and catastrophic climate change,” said Karen Looney, a spokesperson for Rising Tide Seattle.

The object of today’s protest is an oversized load, referred to as a ‘megaload’, carrying an “evaporator” designed by GE for use in the Alberta tar sands oil project, which environmentalists call the most destructive project on earth. General Electric has contracted with Hillsboro based Omega-Morgan to move three megaloads in December and January, the first of which is now on the road in eastern Oregon.  The shipment weighs 450 tons and measures 378 feet long, 22 feet wide and over 18 feet tall and is only permitted to travel between 8 PM and 6 AM.

A coalition of environmentalists and members of the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes is attempting to stop the megaloads from reaching their destination. Last week the megaload was stopped at the Port of Umatilla when two men locked themselves to the trucks hauling the equipment. The following day Cathy Sampson-Kruse, a grandmother and member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla was arrested for attempting to block the load by laying down in the road.

“People are going to use every tool they have to stop these dangerous Megaloads. From legal challenges to civil disobedience,” said Looney

Inside General Electric’s offices protestors activists as janitorial staff offered to “greenwash” the company’s image. One participant held a banner reading “GE: Cleaner GEnocide”. General Electric claims that its controversial “evaporators” make tar sands operations more efficient by recycling water.

“General Electric’s main contribution to the tar sands is helping to engineer a more efficient genocide on the land and people of Alberta,” said Kyle Miskell, one of the participants in today’s protest.

Controversy has followed attempts to move tar sands megaloads through the northwest over the past three years. Last August a megaload carrying similar equipment designed by GE faced four nights of protest and blockades crossing the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho. 28 Tribal Members were arrested as part of the blockades including 8 members of the Nez Perce tribal council. Following the blockades legal challenges secured a court injunction preventing further megaloads from crossing the reservation on Highway 12 until a study on their impacts is completed.

Activists and tribal members are exploring their options for a legal challenge to the megaload’s permit and preparing for more sustained civil disobedience to stop the shipments from moving. While today’s protest in Bellevue was going on another group visited the Hillsboro, Oregon offices of hauler Omega-Morgan.

“People across the northwest are working together to stop our region from being turned into a superhighway for the fossil fuel industry,” said Miskell. “We are putting together the infrastructure to block these shipments and any new fossil fuel infrastructure that manages to get permitted for our region.”


Rising Tide Toronto: Environmental justice activists shut down Line 9 construction site in Toronto

December 3, 2013


Amanda Lickers, Member of Six Nations of Grand River: 705-957-7468, amandalickers@gmail.com
Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines: 226-349-6073

Environmental justice activists shut down Line 9 construction site in Toronto

#LockDownLine9 • Location: Pineway Blvd, just north of Finch

Toronto, Ontario. Members of Rising Tide Toronto have shut down the construction for Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline in North Toronto, locking down to equipment to prevent further work on the line.

“The National Energy Board has not approved the reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline. Amidst outstanding land claims and treaty violations all along the route, there has been no consultation with First Nations. This pipeline must be decommissioned and construction towards this project must stop.” – Amanda Lickers, Member of Six Nations of Grand River

“We are taking a stand today because this project will facilitate the expansion of the tar sands. Moreover, this reversal puts the millions of people along line 9 route at risk.” – Meghan Mills, Rising Tide Toronto

“The health of Aamjiwnaang is suffering from the effects from Canada’s Chemical Valley as a result of Environmental Racism. We need to act now in defence of the land we depend on before Enbridge permanently destroys our territories. This is a human rights issue that effects future generations of all peoples.” – Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines

Line 9 Facts: 
  • Every First Nations band council that intervened in the NEB process said that they had not been consulted in accordance to the Canadian consultation.
  • NEB has not yet approved the Line 9 reversal. If the NEB recognizes the Canadian constitution, they are obligated to not approve this proposal.
  • Enbridge said it will idle Line 9 if its application to reverse and expand the pipeline is rejected by the National Energy Board.
  • Enbridge’s Line 9B is the first pipeline proposal to come under the authority of the new rules hidden in Harper’s omnibus budget Bill C-38 passed in July 2012.
  • Enbridge refuses to carry $1 billion in insurance to cover the costs of a possible spill, arguing that it is unnecessary. Meanwhile, clean up for Enbridge’s Kalamazoo disaster has cost over $1 billion in an area with a population of 7,000.
  • By Enbridge’s own admission, their computation pipeline monitoring system “will not detect a leak below 70.5 [cubic metres], 443 [barrels] over a two-hour period”.
  • Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector says the probability of Line 9 rupturing is “over 90%.”