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! 

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