The road was blockaded in not one but two places; first at the green bridge and a second time further up. |
The first blockade was discovered by loggers at about 5am. Activists surmised that Silver Creek logging would be coming up to Fiddler today because it was the first working day after March 4. (Fiddler, along with six other Late Successional Reserve sales, is the subject of a lawsuit to go to court on March 22. Activists requested an injunction to prevent logging until that day, but that request was turned down. Nonetheless, it still wasn't legal to log there until after March 4, when the request for the injunction was -- according to the legal processes governing such things -- not granted.)
Two "elderly women" were arrested on the bridge. They were sitting in lawn chairs refusing to move, and had to be carried away. (Yay!) An encampment of forest advocates has been taking place near the bridge for over a week, and is still there.
The second blockade was centered on a broken-down truck. One person was locked down in the cab, to the steering wheel. Two more were locked down to the ground, under the truck, apparently with the use of "sleeping dragons", or a method like that. "Sleeping dragons" involve a tube set in concrete into the ground, into which you put your arm. You are able to lock and unlock yourself into it with the use of a caribiner or other device at the bottom of the tube.
This blockade was discovered by 9am. "30-50" supporters were also there. Among those who found the scene were forest service people, loggers, corporate media, and other law enforcement.
Eventually, the police declared the situation a "crime scene" so they could force away the locked-down activists' supporters. The person in the cab was detached and arrested.
Not everyone had to leave the area. One person who got to stay was John West, president of Silver Creek, the logging company that bought the rights to cut the Fiddler sale. (For more information on John West and Silver Creek, his illegal practices and shady past, read this article on the O2 Collective website.)
Activists approached law enforcement about the discrepancy of West being allowed to stay, and surprisingly, they went and knocked on the window of his SUV and interrupted him on his cellphone to talk to him about it. He ended up not moving. He wasn't arrested though; go figure.
The person i spoke to on the phone was among the activists who spent some time talking to him while the truck blockade was being dismantled. She described him as "conversational" with "a great smile and a nice laugh; he's a politician". (That last part is an insult in my book.) He didn't feel there was anything wrong with logging protected old growth trees, saying that the area "is going to burn eventually anyway" according to timber company scientists and describing the stand of environmentalist scientists as not objective. When told that the timber scientists only see things through "the lens of profit" he replied that the environmental scientists only see things "through the lens of not cutting" so he's not going to pay attention to them.
Eventually, law enforcement brought in a vehicle to tow away the broken-down truck. Instead of removing the activists first, however, they started jacking up the truck with the individuals still underneath. These individuals, seeing the sketchiness of this situation, and feeling that their safety was in danger, voluntarily disengaged themselves from their positions and were arrested. Seven others were arrested there, too.
At one point, four loggers with chainsaws walked around the blockade and headed up to one of the units to set about their murderous task.
The caller i spoke to also related an incident she did not witness, but heard about: Apparently, someone delayed the departure of the police van full of arrestees by locking down to it, but escaped before being captured. (Yay!)
More stories and perhaps photos will be posted here to this site as they are produced. Stay tuned!
The caller said that folks in the Biscuit would love more help! They need more people down there, as the encampent is still underway. Come down prepared for anything.
If you can't come down, both the Forest Service and Columbia Helicopters have offices in Portland that would be appropriate places to protest (in the same spirit as the blockades: non-violently).
For more info on how to get involved, call the recently set-up support number: 541-659-2682