Friday, June 26, 2015

Matt Landon offers oil train workshops via Skype

Matt will present the Oil Train Railside Listening Project and Twitter Oil Train Watch workshops.
Please join regional activists at Matt Landon’s Skyped, two-hour workshops in Spokane, Washington, and Sandpoint, Idaho, this weekend, July 27 and 28. Converge at 10:30 am on Saturday, July 27, in Meeting Room 1B, at the street level of the downtown Spokane Public Library, at 906 West Main Avenue in Spokane, and at 2:30 pm at the East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street in Sandpoint. Do not miss these opportunities to attend these Inland Northwest Climate Activist Training Workshops that will enhance your personal and collective capacity to thwart the fossil fuel onslaught currently rampaging the Northwest. WIRT and SPORT welcome your questions and suggestions about these events and your confirmation of participation. Thanks to Helen for organizing these trainings.  If you would like to schedule an in-person or Skyped training for your community please contact us at

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oil Train Blast Zone bike rides / protest for Pedalpalooza 2015 with Updates!

June 7, 2015 Vancouver Oil Train Blast Zone bike ride leaves at 11am for a 6 mile ride.

Pedalpalooza event page

 Oil trains hauling Bakken crude oil and Tarsands oil have been exploding across the US and Canada for the last two years. The Port of Vancouver is proposing to have two operational oil terminals (Tesoro-Savage and Nustar).
Additional oil trains are traveling through Vancouver to other terminals. We will take a leisurely paced 6 mile ride starting in Marine Park.

SE Marine Park Wy & Columbia Way
Vancouver, WA
Meet near the playground.

We will be riding along the Columbia River on the river walk, near railroad tracks where oil trains travel, and on public side streets.

The ride will end with an optional protest at the proposed Nustar oil terminal located at 5420 Fruit Valley Rd Vancouver, WA.

***Update*** The protest bike ride was awesome today!  Thanks to the bike riders who showed up during the 90+ degree weather.  Also thanks to the Portland Mercury newspaper for featuring this bike ride.  

June 20, 2015 Portland Oil Train Blast Zone bike ride leaves at 11am for a 10 mile ride.

Pedalpalooza event page

Oil trains hauling Bakken crude oil and tar sands oil have been exploding across the US and Canda for the last two years. The Port of Portland currently has one oil shipping terminal, Arc Logistics. Additional oil trains are traveling through Portland to other terminals.

We will take a leisurely paced 10 mile ride starting at the corner of N Willamette Blvd and N Ida Ave and riding to 2020 SE Bush Street.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Oil Train Days of Action Eugene, OR May 14-16, 2015

A Training and Community Organizing Project about Oil Trains

Sponsored by the ROAR Center, Civil Liberties Defense Center, and Vancouver Action Network

May 14 Thursday - Video screening (23 min) and Discussion at UO.
Location: UO Lawrence Room 177 @ 6pm-7:50pm
Tabling on UO campus 8am-10am and 2pm-5pm 
May 15 Friday - Listening Project Training at UO campus. Anyone can attend this training and it will prepare you for the railside neighborhood Listening Project on Saturday.               Location: Fenton UO Hall Room 117 @ 2pm-2:50pm
Tabling on UO campus 8am-5pm 
May 15 Friday - Community Listening Project Training at The Boreal in the evening.  This two hour event will begin with the screening of the VICE news segment followed by a discussion during the first hour and the Listening Project training during the second hour.        Location: The Boreal 450 W 3rd Ave Eugene, OR
May 16 Saturday - Community Listening Project training from 8:30am-9:30am at the Grower's Market. Volunteers will then travel to the railside neighborhoods going door to door from 10am-3:00pm followed by a debriefing from 3:30pm-4pm.  Any amount of time you can donate is valuable. Location:  Grower's Market 454 Willamette St. Eugene, OR.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wisconsin Oil Train Watch actively spotting trains

Welcome to Sarah Zarling of Watertown Citizens for Oil Train Safety in Watertown, Wisconsin. Thank you for your oil train monitoring efforts.

You can find more info about this group on Facebook and please LIKE their page-!/watertownoiltrainsafety?fref=ts

You can view Wisconsin's live Twitter feed in the right hand column of our blog just below our Washington Twitter feed.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Oil Train Listening Project *UPDATED 3/31/15*

See below for additional training dates.

VAN is working with Portland Rising Tide to conduct an Oil Train Listening Project in Vancouver, WA on April 1 at the Vancouver Library at 4pm, just before the Oil Train talk at the Kiggins Theater. Additional training dates are Friday, April 10 from 7pm-8pm and Saturday, April 11 from 8:30am-9:30am followed by a second day of listening on April 11 from 10am-3pm and debriefing from 3:30pm-4:30pm. All of these trainings and debriefing will happen at the Portland Rising Tide office located at 2249 E Burnside. You are only required to attend one listening project training. 
The work that needs to happen before the Listening Project is scouting of houses / roads that have a direct line of sight of the railroad tracks. We are focusing on the north south traffic right now. If you go to this map and zoom in you can find the areas which we are targeting for active listening. We also need help gathering clip boards/pens, making copies, lamination, creating the listening project worksheets / questions.

If you don't live in Portland we would still love to work with you on Oil Train organizing.

Training Required:
Everyone who plans to attend the Listening Project will need to attend one of 3 trainings offered on April 1, April 10, or April 11. You only need to attend 1 listening project training but you MUST attend our Listening Project training in order to go door to door for this project even if you have prior listening experience. All trainings, with the exception of April 1, and debriefing will happen at the Portland Rising Tide office located at 2249 E Burnside in Portland, OR. The training on April 1 will take place at the Vancouver Library in Vancouver, WA.

What is a Listening Project?
This Listening Project model was started by the Mountain Justice Movement in 2005 and has been modified and replicated by several social / eco justice groups around the world since then. Listeners get training and go with a buddy door to door asking residents questions to gauge their feelings and concerns about oil train issues. It is a humbling experience, asking questions and then listening to their answers. Listeners will be equiped with maps and other educational materials to distribute. At the end of each 15-30 minute interview the Listeners write down responses and move on to the next house keeping track of which houses have been visited. At the end of the day we gather back to debrief the Listening Project and share stories and highlights. The Listening Projects are good for finding supporters, expanding the local knowledge base and networks, and learning how to phrase our struggles in local terms. The end goal of the Listening Project is to empower local residents by allowing them to tell their story with the idea that upon feeling empowered that they would then organize and take action. Mountain Justice has gotten lots of positive results from using these Listening Projects in Southern Appalachia around coal mining issues. You can find an outline of the questions here.

What happens with the data collected?
The data will be written onto sheets of paper and collected by Vancouver Action Network and will be available for review by any group working on Oil Train issues. Residents who give contact info will be invited to participate in the Twitter Oil Train Watch monitoring program, protests, and other direct actions. We will share some of the data collected during the debriefing in the form of story telling. You can go to our blog or find us on Facebook for more info about how we use community generated data.

Please Help with Planning the Listening Project
1.  We are looking for locations for Listening Projects to occur in the greater Portland area. The places where we want to listen are along the railroad tracks where oil trains travel. The resident's houses need to be facing the tracks or at least be within a clear line of sight of the tracks. Suggested areas are Hayden Island, St Johns, Hwy 30 near Forest Park, Milwaukee,(and in additional railside communities). Do you live near exploding oil train railroad routes? Check this Forest Ethics Blast Zone Map-- If you are a local resident who wants to help organize your railside neighborhood contact us. 
2.  We are looking for questions to ask. We will be using a generic Mountain Justice question list but will include oil train and Portland specific info. If you have door to door experience in Portland and have ideas then please get in touch. I have attached the rough draft of the listening project questions. Feedback is welcome.
3.  Funding to make color lamenated copies of Oil Train Blast Zone maps, copies of the listening project form sheets, and Twitter Oil Train Watch quarter sheets ($60)

Who can attend?
Anyone who is able to ask questions and listen to answers or anyone who can just be a listening buddy for safety. We do ask that you please bathe and wear clean non political and non offensive clothing when going door to door as you are the friendly, smiling, smelling nice face of this budding oil train movement. If you have a car great, bring it. If you don't have a car that is fine as public transit can get you around.

Please RSVP
If you are interested in participating in the Listening Projects please RSVP so that we can make sure our training space is big enough.
RSVP with Matt Landon at

Stuff to bring
water, food, clipboard, pens / pencils, car, bus fare, a positive attitude, your listening ears! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wednesday Talk Radio with Paul Roland on KBOO

VAN co-founder, Matt Landon, will be speaking to Paul Roland tomorrow morning at 8:00am on KBOO. They will be talking about the Twitter train watch, an automated train watch, and listening projects in railside neighborhoods.

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

VAN's 2015 project list and Wishlist

2015 VAN volunteer projects list

1) Listening Projects in Railside neighborhoods-- VAN is partnering with Portland Rising Tide (and other groups?) to help increase the number of most directely impacted railside residents participating in this growing movement.  This spring we plan to go door to door to conduct  Listening Projects (based on the Mountain Justice model) to learn about the concerns of railside residents, provide some technical education about oil by rail projects, and recruit volunteers for Train Watch and other direct actions.  A mandatory training will be provided prior to engaging in Listening Projects.  

2) Twitter Train Watch volunteers needed-- This is one of the most vital tools which VAN can help provide, REAL TIME  oil train monitoring data.  This is information that isn't being provided by any other group,  federal or state agency (that I know of).  If you see a 100% oil train please Tweet the time, direction of train travel if known, location such as city, state and major landmark, and the hash tag #waoiltrainwatch for Washington state, #oroiltrainwatch for Oregon and so on.   This can be done from where ever you are as long as you can see oil trains and use Twitter.
Do you live near exploding oil train railroad routes? Check this Forest Ethics map
Forest Ethics Blast Zone Map--
We also have the option of monitoring oil trains in Vancouver, WA via our live city webcam if anyone is interested.  I can't stress how important this real time data is to our budding movement.  This is one  way to provide real time data to first responders, government officials, local citizens, and those planning direct actions against oil trains.    
Contact VAN when you start monitoring so we can promote your work.

3) Railroad Infrastructure monitoring via drone-- Yep VAN has entered the drone age. We'll be using a drone with Go Pro video to monitor railroad bridges for safety violations. We will be doing visual inspections of railroad crossings which is a common place for accidents to happen. We plan to use to help provide easy to use access to our monitoring data. will map your geosynced tweets and display photos from your trip so that railroad experts and the Utilities Transportation Commission which regulates crossings in Washington state can bust the railroads.

We will not be trespassing on railroad property or breaking current drone regulatory laws.  

4) Exhausting Administrative Rememdies clerical work-- We need to compile a list of which states have complied by providing oil train shipment data to citizens and which ones haven't (so we can break their will to resist) and help locate and mobilze area residents to request this info and initiate lawsuits when possible.  (this can be done from anywhere)

5) Protest it up!-- We need to increase public protests against Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the new Oregon governor to block proposed oil and propane terminals in our states.  We also need to organize nation wide protests at DOT and FRA offices demanding an end to shipping of all explosive substances in out dated DOT 111 railcars. 

6) tabling-- We have a bunch of events where we could use some solid tabling volunteers.  You can get into music shows for free, farmer's markets, festivals and conferences.  It is pretty easy and pretty awesome to meet new folks and help build the movement.  Also doing outreach to Amtrak and crusty punk train riders to conduct Oil Train Watches as they ride the rails.

VAN's 2015 Wishlist---

Anything you could provide or loan would be most helpful.

1) funding (gas money for feild work, printing flyers, relevant conference fees, ect)

2) volunteers (any above listed projects, webmaster, willing to protest in Olympia, Salem, hunger strike on capital steps, ect)  

3) trail cam w / batteries (we would use this to monitor oil trains for historical data via Twitter like Rod Tharp in Olympia) 

4) Live web cam with streaming video feed of train tracks

5) a way to program a computer to automatically monitor for oil trains via webcam using facial recognition type technology

6) a running vehicle (a loaner is ok, with a driver is even better)
7) a rent free VAN volunteer house (we'll take anything on either side of the Columbia or Willamette rivers in Vancouver/ Portland) We would house full time interns and get so much work done!

8) Zappar augmented reality guru-- Augemented reality is a pretty cool thing.  You can use your smart phone to look at Zappar enabled items and info automatically appears on your screen, much like VH 1's Pop Up Music Videos.  We would like an app that could be used to identify contents, maker, and owner of oil tank cars which could help with Train Monitoring.