Jordan Cove Capitol Protest

Around 600 people from across the state showed up at the Oregon capitol building in Salem to demonstrate against the Jordan Cove Energy Project on Thursday.

SALEM — Around 75 folks from Coos County traveled to the Oregon capitol building on Thursday to join around 600 people from across the state in a demonstration asking Oregon Governor Kate Brown to take a stance on the Jordan Cove LNG Project.

A number of Coos County people who oppose the project were taken up to the capitol via a van provided by the conservation group Rogue Climate.

“We had great representation for Coos County, but overall people turned up around the state showed up to this event because they want the state of Oregon to be a climate sustainability leader,” Ashley Audycki with the Coos County Rogue Climate office said.

Another group that brought folks by bus up to demonstrate was the JustUs environmental club at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

The demonstration included a rally where impacted land owners and tribal members spoke against the Jordan Cove Project.

“If Governor Brown cares about climate change as much as she claims to, there’s no reason she shouldn’t oppose Jordan Cove LNG today. Governors in New York and Washington have come out publicly against similar fracked gas projects this year,” said Owen Walker with Southern Oregon Rising Tide. “It’s time for Governor Brown to be a climate leader by opposing this project.”

The governor was in Eugene for the day, but made her way back to the capitol on Thursday evening to address pipeline protestors, who at that point were taking part in a sit-in at the governor’s office.

Local marine biologist Mike Graybill, who has spoken out against the LNG project, was able to speak briefly with the governor, and asked her to take a stance on the project.

“I was grateful to her for coming up from Eugene, and I was also grateful to her chief of staff for making the commitment to meet with myself and others,” Graybill said. “We were interested in having her take a position on this, and it wasn’t clear why she hadn’t taken a position up to this point … She somehow or another has distinguished the Jordan Cove project as a project where she can stand back and allow her agencies to implement the law.”

Brown addressed the demonstrators around 8:30 p.m., though many decided to continue to sit even after her meeting. According to Oregon State Police, at 9 p.m. OSP superintendent Travis Hampton addressed the group asking them to depart the state capitol or they would be subject to arrest.

Twenty-one people remained and were taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail on charges of criminal trespass II. All of the demonstrators were arrested without incident. None of them were from Coos County.

Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.