Portland Is Trying to Stop an Oil-Drilling Ship With Kayaks and Canoes

Illustration for article titled Portland Is Trying to Stop an Oil-Drilling Ship With Kayaks and Canoes

If you want to stop a giant oil company from drilling in the Arctic, you have a few options. A large group of Portland residents are currently forming a blockade to prevent one of the oil company’s ships from getting to the Arctic. And they’re doing it with kayaks.


The Greenpeace-organized protest, which is known as #ShellNo, is trying to stop Shell’s MSV Fennica from making its way down the Willamette River to the Pacific, where it is scheduled to make the journey to the Arctic. The protest began with people rappelling off the St. John’s Bridge yesterday, and today, dozens of kayaks and canoes (kayaktivists!) are in the water below the bridge hoping to “turn Shell around.”

The Coast Guard is towing away boats and at least two people have been arrested, but it appears that the Shell vessel has returned to its dock and delayed its departure schedule, at least for now. It’s also 100 degrees in Portland right now, so at the very least this is making for a lovely summer evening on the river.


Update: The Coast Guard succeeded in removed the protesters, and the ship came back later that evening made it through the blockade.

Follow the author at @awalkerinLA



James Green

I actually live in St. Johns (North Portland), but I don’t have any real connection for the protesters, nor do I have any specific grudge against Shell. But wow, there are some real assholes in the Gizmodo community.

I generally just take Gizmodo’s hipper-than-thou attitude in stride but it would be nice - and surprising - to have more than a few snide paragraphs and a couple of reposted tweets to explain the situation. Again, I have no real strong feelings for the protestors, but I admire that they are doing something - anything.

This isn’t directed at anyone specifically, but people keep bitching about how there’s never any real change, and sure, sometimes stunts like this are ridiculous. But it’s better than the ceaseless doldrum gripping most of us (and I include myself in that).

The protestors have been there for two days, and half of them are suspended from a bridge in 100 degree heat. It has to be a miserable experience. And maybe it’s dumb, but it deserves more than a snarky comment and a comparison to a hipster TV show made by New Yorkers.

Greenpeace has a sketchy past, but I didn’t really know much about Shell’s plans for the Arctic, which raise several questions. I don’t have an answer, and I’m not well informed enough to make a comment on it. I am at least aware of it now, and I’ll do some homework.

And enough with the “you know those kayaks were made with oil, right, hur hur” comments. It’s not clever, everything in the world uses oil if you look hard enough. Quit being a dismissive fuckhead because you found one nit to pick.

And yes, I am keenly aware of the irony of me posting an angry and snarky comment indicting angry comments and snarky posts. And yes, I fully expect the wrath of the Internet to crash down on my comment and call me an asshole or whatever. I am straight out of fucks to give.

With that said I may walk down to the river and see what’s going on. Better than sitting on my ass.