Not here, not anywhere: a recap of the Stop Zenith Vigil

As part of the Climate Strike Week of Action, our community hosted the Stop Zenith Vigil for 60 continual hours from Tuesday, September 24 at 7:00 AM to Thursday September 26 at 7:00 PM. It was a beautiful, moving, and strategically important time. About 150 people participated in the Vigil during those 3 days, many holding shifts late into the night or before sunrise very early in the morning. It was a time of deep learning about ourselves, our community members, the NW Industrial district, and about the movement of oil trains at the Zenith facility.

In the middle of the 60 hours, we held a Night of Illumination, where we heard from tribal elders, musicians, community leaders, and vigil participants about the necessity of stopping the Zenith tar sands facility and returning the land to its original habitat. Click here to view moving photos of this event from the Oregonian.

In the news…

Demonstrators Hold 60-Hour Vigil at Zenith Energy in NW Portland – The Oregonian

Portland Activists Won’t Let City Council Forget About Zenith – Portland Mercury

In their own words: Direct quotes from the Vigil’s guest book

  • “So excited to be here at the final hours of the vigil!  Missing 4th period to be here today in support of something so important, and bringing awareness to such a large issue that is largely unknown.”
  • “Here for my grandkids.  What else can I say.”
  • “I’m here because the earth is fragile, life is precious, people are beautiful,  but all of it is precarious and in peril.  We unite to save what we have and to radically change everything so our children and their children and their children can live.”
  • “I am so moved by the people I’ve met in this space, and by the wild love and commitment that brought us together.  It’s 3 AM in the morning and I’m tired and grateful.  Tonight has felt like a song or a prayer.  Tonight I feel like we can win a better world, like this place can be restored, like this struggle can restore us.  Thank you, organizers who made this happen.  Onward to more!”
  • “I am here to do my part in a great effort to have our concerns heard and seen.  Great to see strangers come through to offer support.”
  • “I’m here because I believe we need to make change, and that we can, and must, make a different world.  I’m also here because there is strength and hope in working and being together with others who share the commitment to work for change. NO TAR SANDS.  NOT HERE.  NOT ANYWHERE.”

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who participated, who held a shift during the vigil, who brought food or warm drinks, who spoke or sang at the Night of Illumination, who supplied materials, and so much more. And a special thank you to 350PDX all-star volunteer Melanie Plaut, who led the organization of the Vigil from start to finish, thought of all the details from small to large, and made everyone participating feel supported. 350PDX is incredibly grateful (every single day!) to work with all of the incredible volunteers in our community. Thank you, thank you! Let’s keep it up.