Enviros Turn to Effigies, Marches

When it comes to saving the environment, lawyers and protesters often go hand in hand, so it may come as no surprise that alongside (though not an official part of) the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the UO Feb. 28 to March 3, there were acts of protest.

The annual Outlaw Bash party and fundraiser tradition, as described by longtime environmentalist Michael Donnelly in an article in CounterPunch, is “music, libations and ever-popular bonfires of mock-ups of eco-destruction.” This year’s effigy burned in the fire featured Secretary of State Kate Brown and Gov. John Kitzhaber on their knees praying before a massive chainsaw emblazoned with “salvation” on one side and “Christihl” on the other (Stihl is a popular brand of chainsaw).

The effigy was a comment on Kitzhaber and Brown’s presence on the State Land Board that governs Oregon’s state forests and their vote to dramatically increase clearcut logging on the forests. The Elliott State Forest is home to some of Oregon’s last coastal rainforests, and it houses threatened and endangered species, such as the marbled murrelett.

On Sunday, March 3, the Cascadia Forest Defenders, Deep Green Resistance and other groups met at the UO and marched in an “Action Against Extraction.” The march, with about 150 participants waving flags and carrying banners, went down 13th Avenue and turned north down Hilyard where marchers swiftly hung a “dismantle the pipeline” banner from the pedestrian bridge. The group then went down Franklin Boulevard and downtown, stopping traffic on its way. A fire truck was able to pass by the group with no pause.

The marchers chanted against coal, tar sands and other fossil fuels: “Devastation and exploitation/ Won’t be solved by corporations/ That’s bullshit!/ Get off it/ The enemy is profit.” The marchers stopped in front of Chase Bank, Bank of America and other banks they said fund and support fossil fuel exploitation. Chase gave $14 billion to oil projects, they said, and BofA gave loans to Arch and Peabody coal.