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-- http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org/
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 TweetedTrips.com to help provide easy to use access to our monitoring data. TweetedTrips.com 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.