Protesters block the route of a Portland tanker by hanging from a bridge in hammocks.
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Every activist probably wishes they could accomplish as much sitting in a hammock.

The Washington Post reports that 13 protestors took to the sky (sorta) July 29 as they lowered themselves down from a bridge to try and stop Shell moving on to drill for oil in the arctic.

The protesters took to the St. Johns Bridge over the Willamette River early Wednesday to block the icebreaker, named the Fennica, from heading north to protect Shell's fleet from ice and respond to an oil spill, should one occur.

"They are creating a human barricade so that the Shell icebreaker cannot get through," Annie Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace USA, told KATU in Portland. "They are prepared to stay up there for days because that's what it is going to take to save the Arctic."





The Portland Mercury said the tactic apparently worked because the tanker, named the Fennica, had to retreat.

The activism springs from both growing concerns over an oil spill and a local feeling of duty.

As the Mercury says:

The U.S. Department of Interior says there is a 75 percent chance of an oil spill in the Arctic once drilling commences, a spill which experts say would be virtually impossible to clean up, posing unacceptable risks to indigenous peoples and the marine environment. Shell is proposing to commence drilling in this untouched region—thanks to rapidly melting ice in the Arctic due to climate change— at a time when NASA's former top climate scientist says we may see at least 10 feet of sea level rise by 2050.

"In Portland and across the Northwest, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to act as a chokepoint in the transport of dirty coal, oil, and gas. For years, Portland has demonstrated powerful resistance to the shipping of coal and oil by rail, as well as tar sands mining equipment by road," says Meredith Cocks of Portland Rising Tide. "We view the arrival of Shell's icebreaker in Portland as another chance to disrupt new oil development and demonstrate that any and all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction is an unacceptable risk to our climate and future."



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