A log truck parks in front of Oregon’s capitol in June 2019 at a Timber Unity protest. Photo: Kevin Magwood
SALEM – In the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, February 6, semi-trucks from around the state will form convoys and head to Salem for a Timber Unity rally in opposition to Senate Bill 1530, a cap-and-trade bill that is essentially a resurrected version of a similar bill that was abandoned in the Oregon Senate last year after Republican legislators walked away from the session in protest.
The bill would, among other things, create a carbon pricing program for businesses in the state, and, according to an Oregonian article published January 13, create “gradually more stringent cap on statewide carbon dioxide emissions and require polluters from the transportation fuels, utility and industrial sectors to acquire “emissions allowances” to cover every metric ton of their emissions.”
According to the Capital Press agricultural newspaper, a spokesperson for Timber Unity said that the group would begin endorsing candidates for political office after the rally.
A Facebook page for the event noted that 1,300 Facebook users had marked that they would attend the rally, dubbed the “#LetsRollConvoy” by event organizers.
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Jeffery Leavy, a trucker from Clatskanie, Timber Unity founder, and the person responsible for organizing a convoy departing the North Plains area said that there could be around 300 trucks starting in North Plains on Thursday.
Once that portion of the convoy joins up with the other convoys from all over the state, there could be “well over one-thousand trucks” from all over the state.
“It’s going to be something this state has never seen,” Leavy said.
A similar rally in 2019 brought hundreds of trucks to Salem, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, causing some traffic delays throughout the state.
Don Hamilton, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson, said that the Banks area could see significant activity, and in a press release from the agency, Highways 6 and 26 were both listed as potentially seeing heavy truck traffic.
Locally, two main convoys are expected to be in the area early Thursday morning; one convoy will gather between 4:30 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. at the weigh station on Highway 6 between North Plains and Banks and is scheduled to roll out at 5:30 a.m., according to the convoy website and social media pages; another, starting even earlier in Tillamook, is scheduled to depart at 4 a.m. from the truck scales outside of Tillamook on Highway 6, driving through Gales Creek and Banks before traveling to Highway 26 and making their way to Salem.
“Travelers on most area state highways should prepare for added congestion and delays during the morning and evening commutes. That means checking routes using TripCheck.com and traffic cameras, considering alternative routes and planning extra travel time,” a press release from ODOT read.
The heaviest congestion is expected in Salem, where the rally will take place on the capitol steps, where state lawmakers will be just 4 days into the 2020 short session, which is scheduled to end March 8.