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Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade May Qualify as “Terrorist Attack”

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:17pm

Above: The railroad blockade continued in downtown Olympia on Tuesday. Early Tuesday, at 6:00 a.m., the Union Pacific police department served notice to protesters to vacate the tracks within two hours. They did not do so and Union Pacific officers did not come back. 
Port, Union Pacific, Olympia Police Departments Involved

By Janine

Editor's Note, November 16: Headline was changed from "Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade Qualifies as "Terrorist Attack" to "Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade May Qualify as "Terrorist Attack." Little Hollywood only cited one source for the legal information that was obtained from inside the blockade camp and provided to protesters on site. Little Hollywood appreciates the feedback.
The blockade of a Union Pacific train carrying ceramic proppants in downtown Olympia by protesters may qualify as a terrorist attack under federal codes and involves Port of Olympia security, the Union Pacific police department, and the City of Olympia police department.

Ceramic proppants are ceramic coated beads of sand created in China and used in the process of hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction. The train carrying the proppants from the Port of Olympia is destined for North Dakota's Bakken oil field. 

The evolving group of activists, collectively known as Olympia Stand, have created a camp on and near the tracks, and have increased their security measures. On environmental grounds, many are willing to risk arrest in a direct action to prevent the train from leaving Olympia. 

Climate scientists are clear that in order to stave off catastrophic climate change, 80 percent of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. 

In a press release issued November 13, the Olympia Stand group says it will continue to “fight the import or export of fossil fuel infrastructure until the Port of Olympia finds alternative uses for the marine terminal.”

Ports are considered separate municipalities, like a city or town, and have their own security force to protect port property. State law applies in ports, but some federal charges may also apply because ports are considered critical infrastructure of commerce. 
The Olympia Police Department has largely employed a hands-off approach, but officers have been seen in the area.

Little Hollywood asked the Olympia Police Department on Tuesday if it is cooperating with the Union Pacific Railroad special agents.

“We are working with Union Pacific Railroad police as well as working with other local agencies to ensure the city remains safe. Although the Union Pacific Railroad police department is the primary agency handling this matter and it is their jurisdiction right now, we recognize it is in the heart of our downtown and whatever comes of this will likely carry on to our city streets,” said public information officer Lt. Paul Lower.
“The group occupying the railroad tracks has put flyers up in a number of locations downtown Olympia which indicates they are unwilling to cooperate with anyone and will carry out their plan “by any means necessary,” using words such as “fight,” “attack,” and “fight back” to define what they mean. 
“The City of Olympia Police Department’s primary concern is the safety of our community. We are working hard to keep our community safe,” he added.
The encampment on the tracks has grown since the protest started last Friday.

Early Tuesday, at 6:00 a.m., protesters were served notice by two Union Pacific special agents based in Portland to vacate the railroad at 7thand Jefferson Street. Little Hollywood was told that one officer recorded the interaction with a camcorder.
Protesters were given a two hour warning and told to vacate by 8:00 a.m., however, railroad agents did not show up at 8:00 a.m.
There is a split in the railroad tracks between 7th and 8th Avenues in the area where the protesters are located. On Monday morning, protesters were contacted by another railroad company that operates a nearby track and were asked to untie a rope that was in the way of that railroad line’s property. 

The rope was anchoring a tent, and protesters untied the rope as requested without incident.
About that same time, a Port of Olympia inspector and a supervisor also showed up, along with Olympia Police Department officers, but there was no incident, and all officers left the scene.
Union Pacific Police Department History
Union Pacific has a police department staffed with more than 220 special agents, who are responsible for all Union Pacific locations across 32,000 miles of track in 23 states. 
Special agents have primary jurisdiction over crimes committed against the railroad and are certified state law enforcement officers with investigative and arrest powers both on and off railroad property in most states. They also have interstate law enforcement authority pursuant to federal law.
In 2014, the Union Pacific Police Department achieved accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) for complying with the highest law enforcement standards. Only 17 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies have earned the CALEA accreditation.
The railroad police force dates to the mid-1800s, when the number of U.S. Marshals was insufficient to police the country's growing rail network. Members were called Pinkertons, named after their originator, Alan Pinkerton.
Today, each Class I railroad employs special agents across the country to protect the rail network.
According to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, railroad tracks, and usually the land extending up to 50 feet on either side, are private property of railroad corporations.

Railroad police have interstate jurisdiction and can investigate and enforce all state law crimes against railroad whether or not the officers are on railroad property.
There are special state and federal charges that may be brought against protesters interfering with railroads and trains.
Federal charges typically involve the use of violence, but many non-violent actions may face serious charges and is written in a 1992 code rather broadly as“terrorist attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and against mass transportation systems on land, on water, or through the air.”

Disabling, wrecking, or derailing any on-track equipment or vehicle, as well as making tracks, depots, bridges, tunnels, signals, warehouses, etc. unusable or unworkable also qualifies as a terrorist attack.
Also according to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, collecting information, surveilling, photographing, videotaping, or diagramming railroads or equipment to assist in any of this behavior may also qualify as a terrorist act, as does attempting, threatening, conspiring, or conveying false information about an attempt to do any of the above. 

All the above qualifies a Class C felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fines.

State charges also exist for railroad-specific behavior in Washington, including obstructing or delaying a train. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. 

For more photos and information about the rail blockade, Olympia Stand, the Port of Olympia, and ceramic proppants, go to Little Hollywood,, and type key words into the search button.

WDFW Approves Razor Clam Opening on 3 Ocean Beaches

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:11pm


Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fishery managers have approved three days of razor clam digging beginning Nov. 17 at various ocean beaches. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those beaches are safe to […]

Radical Mycology: Fungi, Culture, and Community

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:53pm
Event:  Wed, 11/30/2016 - 7:30pm - 8:45pm

Fungi offer a wealth of means for increasing personal health, community resilience and ecological stewardship. Author Peter McCoy will explore these connections and more, as detailed in his book "Radical Mycology," a compendium of all things fungi! Copies will be available for purchase.

This free program will be held at the Olympia Timberland Library, located at 313 8th Ave SE. Please call 360-352-0595 with any questions. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

PoetryMusic: Where Words and Music Meet

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:44pm
Event:  Thu, 12/01/2016 - 7:30pm - 8:45pm

A delightful meeting of music and poetry ranging from Shakespeare to Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. In the tradition of the classical art song, where composers wrote music for the poetry to be sung, the chamber jazz duo PoetryMusic combines poetry, exquisit music and visual images for a truly unique multi-media experience. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Olympia Library.

This free program will be held at the Olympia Timberland Library, located at 313 8th Ave SE. Please call 360-352-0595 with any questions. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

LOLA Lifestyle Boutique Closes Doors on January 1

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:18pm


Emerson once said that “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” From 2014 through 2016, experimentation took the form of LOLA Lifestyle Boutique for creative local businesswoman, Stevie Olson. But like many journeys, this one comes to an end with the arrival of the New Year. Olson has decided, after […]

Olympia Rail Protesters Given Notice to Vacate, Port Commissioners Respond

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:18am

Above: Community activists, collectively called Olympia Stand, continues its blockade of Union Pacific Railroad tracks in its effort to halt the transfer of ceramic proppants from the Port of Olympia to North Dakota, where the product will be used in hydraulic fracking process to allow for oil extraction.

Port Commissioners Downing, Zita Make Statements about Blockade at meeting Monday night
By Janine
At about 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, two Union Pacific Railroad Company police served notice on blockade participants to vacate the railroad at 7th and Jefferson in downtown Olympia.
The notice of emergency abatement placed on the blockade site states to vacate the property or risk criminal trespass in the second degree.
The notice is partially handwritten, saying that further violations exceeding the notice are subject to violations. The term “ORS.164.255” is crossed out, which would be a first degree violation, and “second degree” is written in.
“The nuisances on this property include illegal camping, debris, scattering of rubbish, harborage for rats, unclean and unsanitary conditions, and therefore violates the property rights of the Union Pacific Railroad,” it states in part.
The notice does not give a time or date that trespassers must vacate the property.
Two members of the National Lawyers Guild arrived about 9:00 a.m. and identified themselves to Little Hollywood as observers.
At the same time, while standing outside the encampment, a white truck with two men inside drove by yelling, “Trump!” “Trump!” “Trump!”
Above: A Union Pacific Railroad notice of emergency abatement placed Tuesday morning at the railroad blockade site at 7th and Jefferson in downtown Olympia. The notice states that it is a notice to vacate the property or risk criminal trespass in the second degree.
Protesters, collectively called Olympia Stand, have maintained its direct action blockade of the railroad tracks since Friday afternoon. 
On Friday, a train hauling several cars of ceramic proppants was forced to return to the Port of Olympia’s marine terminal after being blocked by protesters at the intersection of State and Jefferson Street.
City of Olympia city manager Steve Hall was at the camp Tuesday morning on his way to work and got there just in time to see the railroad police put up the notices.
“I just hope there’s a peaceful end to this – I hope people don’t get in trouble at a higher level while being heard," said Hall. Hall said he spoke to the railroad police, who were vague about whether or not it was a felony to block a train.
“I’m hoping this is handled the Olympia way and people don’t get hurt,” said Hall.
Protesters have visually fortified their barricade at 7th and Jefferson with white plastic sheeting, but blockade activities can clearly be seen from Jefferson Street.
At last night’s Port of Olympia meeting, about 17 activists, in addition to those in the audience, peacefully showed up to make their presence known to the commissioners and stood in the back of the room during the public comment period.
Several spoke directly to the Port’s complicity in the degradation of the environment by accepting the ceramic proppant shipments from China and allowing transport to North Dakota to be used in the process of hydraulic fracking.
Zoltan Grossman, a professor at The Evergreen State College, urged commissioners to be on the right side of history.
A student of The Evergreen State College, Colleen Allen, said that many students care about their future.
“We care about the future – all we ask is that you care about our future too,” she said.
Above, left to right: Port of Olympia commissioners Joe Downing, Bill McGregor, and E.J. Zita at their regular meeting on Monday evening.
The commissioners briefly responded to public concerns, but did not dwell on the topic.
Commissioner Joe Downing responded by saying that he did not vote for Donald Trump and has had a sign on his car in support of Hillary Clinton for a couple months.
“I’m choked up, because things are going to get tough and I’m just seeing the handwriting on the wall….”
How that relates to fracking, he said, is that the community has to continue to have a dialog about energy production and port priorities. He said he has spoken directly with protesters and doesn’t personally see a connection between that conversation and the port's shipping of proppants to North Dakota.

“We need to have rail car safety…I don’t agree with blocking trains.…Make your voices known, and move on to the next issue, frankly,” said Downing.
In a statement provided to Little Hollywood on Monday, Commissioner E.J. Zita said:
“I asked last month to be informed of any movements of fracking proppants at the Port, but was surprised to learn of events last week.  I commend the Olympia Police Department for their hands-off response to peaceful protest.  Public safety and freedom of speech are high priorities. 
“Port Commissioners are responsible for setting port policy, and the executive director is responsible for carrying out that policy.  While the executive director may have played a key role in securing the Rainbow Ceramics contract to move fracking proppants through the Port, future decisions on this matter rest with commissioners.  We must weigh risks and benefits to people and the environment as well as to economics.
“The Port's Environmental Director has recently undertaken an assessment of our direct (Scope 1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  I recommend that we also evaluate the indirect (Scope 2 and Scope 3) GHG emissions due to fracking proppants moving through the Port,” said Zita.
For more photos and information about the rail blockade, the Port of Olympia, ceramic proppants, and more, go to Little Hollywood,, and type key words into the search button.

Tumwater Ends Perfect Season with State Volleyball Title

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 6:53am


Tumwater opened the high school volleyball season by knocking off the defending Class 4A state champion. The Thunderbirds ended the year by capturing a title of their own. In between it was pure dominance, which ultimately led to perfection. Tumwater capped a flawless 22-0 season by winning the 2A state championship with a straight set […]

Once a Year Holiday Cheer at the Country Christmas Bazaar

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 6:37am


After daylight savings falls back, it’s hard to get motivated once the sun goes down. This often forces shopping trips to compete with Seahawks games during limited weekend free-time. Check Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and more off your list with a little hand-made one-stop shopping. Shopping through the internet—while convenient—isn’t foolproof. When it comes to artisanal […]

SPSCC Foundation: Creating Connections, Changing Lives for Scholarship Donors and Recipients

Thurston Talk - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 11:13am


“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~ Anne Frank Giving is at the heart of The SPSCC Foundation. The generous, giving spirit of the Thurston County community supports SPSCC students and programs through donations ot the Foundation. One of the most impactful areas for both donors and recipients is through gifts in the […]

River Ridge Football Heads to State Quarterfinals for Second Time in School History

Thurston Talk - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 7:15am


Tre’Vonne Dorfner waltzed into the end zone following his third quarter interception and was immediately mobbed by his teammates. It was a celebration nearly two decades in the making. Dorfner scored three times, Ryan Blash caught a pair of touchdown passes from Kelle Sanders and the River Ridge High School football team won its first […]

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 6:00am


Hi I’m LUCY! I have an extremely enthusiastic attitude towards life, and thrive on exercise. If you have a big yard, and a lot of energy, we’ll be a perfect fit! I’m a beautiful Chocolate Lab mix, with a very cheerful nature. I know my basic commands, and really enjoy going for rides in the […]

FirstLight Home Care Offers Free Content to Family Caregivers

Thurston Talk - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 6:00am


When Adriana Hutchings’ mother was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, Adriana was living in Seattle and building an illustrious career. With no other family nearby, Hutchings quit her job, sold her home and moved to Olympia to take care of her mother. She was pregnant with her first son and suddenly thrust into the role […]

Olympia Protesters Continue Rail Blockade

Janine's Little Hollywood - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 1:04am

Above: A group of community activists, collectively named Olympia Stand, continued its direct action blockade of railroad tracks in downtown Olympia over the weekend. One of the group's demands is for the Port of Olympia to permanently cease fossil fuel shipments through the marine terminal. This sign is at the blockade.
By Janine
An evolving group of community activists, collectively called Olympia Stand, continued its direct action blockade of railroad tracks over the weekend in downtown Olympia. 

In duration, it could be the longest, continuously occupied rail blockade in Washington State history. While attendance at the camp is fluid, there are at least 20 people on and around the track at all times. 
On Friday, a train hauling several cars of ceramic proppants was forced to return to the Port of Olympia's marine terminal after being blocked by protesters at the intersection of State and Jefferson Street. 

On Saturday, the blockade was moved a few blocks down the train tracks to the intersection of Jefferson St. and 7th Avenue. Activists have built a barricade of assorted materials on the railroad track using wooden pallets, signs, tents, and several couches.
One of the group's demands is for the Port of Olympia to permanently cease fossil fuel shipments through the marine terminal. 
The Port of Olympia has had a contract for several years with Rainbow Ceramics to receive proppants, which are created in China and delivered by ship in bags, destined to be used in the process of hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction in North Dakota's Bakken oil field.
Above: On Saturday, Nov. 12th, the blockade of the railroad tracks was moved a few blocks down the train tracks to the intersection of Jefferson St. and 7th Avenue. This picture is taken from 8th Avenue in downtown Olympia. Picture taken Saturday afternoon. 
What began as a couple of modest canopies with music blaring on Saturday has now morphed into an impressive tent community. People are still in good spirits, but by Sunday, the music was gone, not only out of respect for nearby downtown residents, but also to focus on the serious tasks central to their message.
Despite the cold, pelting rain and high winds Sunday evening, the camp's attendance swelled to about 75 individuals at about 7:00 p.m. for a facilitated group meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half. 

Under several secured tents and canopies, volunteers busily organized donated warm food, hot coffee, snacks, water, emergency supplies, and literature. The well-organized kitchen area includes food and water, and trash, recycling, and composting bins. 

Individuals are using proper restrooms at nearby businesses as needed. 
Above: Wooden pallets, debris, and couches under tarps are used to blockade the railroad tracks between 7th and 8th Avenue in downtown Olympia on Sunday evening.
Solidarity with Standing Rock
The action to resist the movement of ceramic proppants through Olympia had been planned by port militarization resistance activists for several months. Olympia community members have been upset about the transport of proppants through the Port of Olympia since 2012. 
Many at the camp are inspired by the water protectors of the Standing Rock Dakota Pipeline resistance. 
The group includes Kyle Taylor Lucas, who is also an organizer of the Salish Water and Land Protectors. 
The Salish Water and Land Protectors group is intended to create unity in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in protecting their treaty rights, sacred lands, and Missouri River water.
Lucas, of Tumwater, is an Indigenous woman of the Tulalip Tribes and First Nations, Cooks Ferry and Lytton Bands of the Nlaka'pamux Nation of British Columbia.
A former Tumwater city council member, Lucas also served as executive director of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs from 2003 to 2005. She currently has her own consulting business.
“Certainly, we Indians have been fighting for our land and water against corporate and government oppression all our lives, but we've taken an unprecedented collective stand to support the Standing Rock Sioux people. In so doing, we are extending our ancestor's teachings to protect and preserve our sacred lands and waters on behalf of future generations,” said Lucas, in an interview with Little Hollywood late Sunday.
“It is critical that we do this now as the North Dakota fracking industry's tentacles reach across the nation, including across the State of Washington, and right into Olympia where we refuse to be complicit in the dirty fossil fuels extraction industry.
“In taking direct action to disrupt the delivery of these fracking sands, we are answering the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's call to stand up to fossil fuels extraction industry in our region. We also stand in support of Native nations in the forefront of protecting traditional lands and water from the Bakken crude oil trains and oil terminals here in Washington,” said Lucas.
Above: The Port of Olympia marine terminal, bags of ceramic proppants, exposed, and under black tarps, and presumably, loaded in the train hoppers, as seen on Sunday evening. The cars are now connected to the train engine, which had been moved into place at some point since Saturday evening. 
For more information about the blockade, read, Protesters Stop Port of Olympia Proppant Train, at posted November 11, 2016.

Olympia School Board Named ‘Board of Distinction’

Thurston Talk - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 7:57pm


  The Olympia School Board has been named a “Board of Distinction” in Washington state. Olympia is one of 24 school boards from among 295 school districts statewide selected to receive the recognition this year from the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA).  “Each of these boards demonstrates the excellent work done by Washington’s 295 […]

Double Gold For Westport at Tri-Cities Wine Fest

Thurston Talk - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 6:34pm


Westport Winery again earned a double gold medal for its iconic sparkling cranberry wine, Rapture of the Deep, this time at the Tri-Cities Wine Festival held on Saturday, November 12. Director of Winemaking Dana Roberts was on hand at the event to accept this award along with numerous others.  Gold medals were awarded to Mermaid […]

The Native American Art Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC)

South Sound Arts - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 10:21am
Beaded bag by Denise EmersonThe Native American Art Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) features a wide variety of works by regional Native American artists. Look for paintings, basketry, carved wood pieces, textiles and mixed-media art curated by Mandy McCullough. McCullough is an Ojibwa from White Earth, Minnesota, who has created jewelry since she was in grade school. “This is the seventh year I have curated the exhibition. My family works along with me each year,” McCullough says.

See the complete review in Oly Arts
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Key Bank Announces Sale of Tenino Branch to O Bee Credit Union

Thurston Talk - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 8:46am


Submitted by O Bee Credit Union O Bee Credit Union has finalized an agreement to purchase KeyBank’s former branch building at 149 Sussex Ave. W. in downtown Tenino. The purchase should be completed within the next few weeks. KeyBank has approved the sale of this building to enable O Bee Credit Union to keep financial […]

The Geography of the Opportunity for Olympia loss

Olympia Time - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 7:52am

From what I heard, there were several reasons for Opportunity for Olympia coming to Olympia. The income tax to pay for the first year of college for Olympia high school graduates was run here because Olympia was particularly fertile ground. We had supported the last statewide attempt at an income-like tax and we have a good track record of supporting school levies.

But, in the wash, Initiative 1 ran far worse in Olympia than either 1098 (47 percent to 56 percent) or local school levies (over 75 percent last time around).

So, first let's take a look at how Initiative 1 ran against our 1098 results precinct by precinct.

The lighter the placemark, the worse Initiative 1 did against 1098. In a few places (farish westside and far Eastside) Initiative 1 actually did better than 1098. But, the losses in the close in neighborhoods and Southeast Olympia were too much to overcome.

Let's take a close look, though, at the precincts where Initiative 1 did better. These aren't usually precincts I play close attention to when I think about Olympia politics. They seem to be areas around the malls and hospitals. A few precincts around the South Sound Center St. Petes and then up Lilly Road supported the local income tax over the statewide one, as well as precincts around the Capital Mall and Capital Medical Center. I have no idea what this means.

Again, the lighter the placemark, the worse Initiative 1 did against the last levy in February 2016.

But, again, there were no precincts where the initiative did better than the levy. We can't see a repeat of the South Sound Mall/St. Pete's precincts, since they're inside the North Thurston school district. But we can see some dark spots in the westside near Capital Mall/Medical center. And, again the South Capitol to SE Olympia axis, Initiative 1 did far worse.

Most interesting is that there are a few well off westside, water view precincts on the westside where the levy (property tax) did worse than generally than the initiative (property tax). My guess, people with lower incomes but better home values (water view westside) like Initiative 1 better than people with lower home values and higher incomes in the deep SE side. Just a wild guess based on neighborhood stereotypes.

Act Local – Volunteer Opportunities around Olympia Bring Extra Hands to Non-Profit Organizations

Thurston Talk - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 7:42am


When I read Marilyn R.’s note to our Publishing team I knew I had an answer. Her email asked for information on “non-profit organizations that help or protect those in need.”  Immediately, a number of ways to volunteer in Olympia popped into my head.  The problem – the great stories about these impactful, local non-profits are spread […]

Naot Trunk Shows Brings Exceptional Comfort and Style to Belleza Ropa in November

Thurston Talk - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 6:00am


It’s one thing to look at shoes online or in a catalogue, another thing entirely to see them in person, says Naot representative Tom Sowards, who will be at Belleza Ropa in Olympia on November 19 for a trunk show featuring the company’s shoe line. “Nothing replaces being able to see something in person,” he […]

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