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Mothers for a Safe Columbia County organizes protest to coincide with United Nations annual climate change conference

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - A small group gathered along Highway 30 in Scappoose on Friday, Dec. 6, to join the national Climate Strike. A small group of parents, students, and other Columbia County residents gathered in Scappoose on Friday, Dec. 6, as part of the national Climate Strike.

Standing alongside Highway 30 on Friday afternoon, around 20 protesters received honks of support from motorists commuting home from work.

Organizers with Mothers for a Safe Columbia County piggy-backed off the strike organized by Sunrise Movement planned to coincide with the United Nations' annual climate change conference. PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Lincoln Krager and Winifred Ponti, both five years old, hold signs at the Climate Strike in Scappoose on Dec. 6.

Emma Korpela, a junior at St. Helens High School, said she attended the protest because she's seen the impacts of climate change both through the troubling reports about the climate future and the impact on young people who struggle to see a bright future amid those reports.

"I would like to live and see my grandkids and know they're in a safe spot, and I'm sure all these other moms and parents and family members and friends are out here for the same reason," Korpela said. "It's just because we don't have anywhere else to go. This is our planet."

Karson Miller, a senior at St. Helens High School, was critical of politicians and business leaders, including the Port of Columbia County's support of new industries that could bring environmental consequences to the area.PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Ashley Beisley, one of the event organizers, holds a sign visible to passing drivers on Highway 30 in Scappoose.

"Even our current politicians in Oregon, even though they ran as Democrats, they're not really with the current views of the party," Miller said. "I think they need to be held accountable for what they've done, and if they're not going to get on board with students and the younger generations … they need to get out."

Some attendees held signs calling to end the passage of oil trains.

"For me, it's more about land and soil and how important it is to have healthy soils and protect our farmland for carbon sequestration and for food production," said Ashley Beisley, one of the local event organizers. PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - A group gathered in Scappoose on Friday afternoon to protest government inaction on climate change in a spot visible to Columbia County residents commuting home from work.

Oil trains and farmland were two main local concerns for protestors.

"We want to stop oil, methane production, all of that kind of stuff, because we really can't afford to have any more carbon in the atmosphere. We're concerned about industrializing agricultural land … We want to preserve our agricultural land," Beisley said.

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