July 30, 2015, 3:11pm: It’s a hundred degrees in Portland and there are thirteen activists hanging from the St. John’s Bridge.
Early yesterday morning, the climbers, equipped with several days worth of supplies, repelled backwards off North Portland’s St. John’s Bridge in a last-ditch effort to block the route of the Shell Oil vessel MSV Fennica — an Ice Breaker on its way to drill oil in the Arctic, despite the bugle call of environmentalists and the impending threat of climate change.
They hung there in the air for more than 24 hours, their crimson and yellow banners lilting and swaying in the river’s breeze — a brazen choreography of protest. Then, without a word or sound or declaration, the MSV Fennica reversed course.
Georgia Hirsty, one of the activists, sent a victorious missive from the air: “The sun is now setting on an incredible day of speaking truth to power and effective direct action.” As of the writing of this blog post the thirteen renegades still hang mid-air off the tallest bridge in Portland, like symbols of dissent, of power, of courage, of holding on to life with life.