Protesters arrested after sit-in at Brown’s Capitol office


Environmental groups unhappy with governor's refusal to stand with them in opposition of 235-mile LNG pipeline that will cut across Southern Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown, flanked by security, staff, and state troopers, talked with Jordan Cove protesters THursday night, Nov. 21. Twenty-one people were arrested in a sit-in at Brown’s ceremonial State Capitol office. (Courtesy: Southern Oregon Rising Tide)

SALEM, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — State police ended a protest and occupation of Gov. Kate Brown’s ceremonial Capitol office Thursday night, Nov. 21, by arresting 21 people for criminal trespass.

They were the remaining demonstrators who filled the governor’s ceremonial office Thursday afternoon to show their opposition to the liquefied natural gas project in Coos Bay.

The protest started with hundreds on the Capitol steps before moving inside to the rotunda midday and then to Brown’s office, on the second floor. Brown wasn’t in the office at the time but did talk to protesters by phone. Later in the evening, she returned and talked with those occupying her office.

Thomas Joseph, a leader of the sit-in, said that around 9:30 p.m., Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton ordered about 65 protesters to leave the building. At that time many of the people still in the building packed up and left the Capitol. About two dozen people stayed and were arrested by state troopers.

Protesters were targeting the Jordan Cove gas pipeline project that will cut across 229 miles of Oregon landscape, from the border town of Malin east of Klamath Falls to Coos Bay. Proponents say the project would be an economic boon for Coos County. Environmentalists say the risks to Oregon’s environment are significant.

Booked into county jail

According to Southern Oregon Rising Tide, one of those arrested was 72-year-old Sandy Lyons, a landowner in Days Creek who would be impacted by the pipeline. Lyons said Thursday that her family had lived and worked on their Douglas County ranch for nearly 30 years and have been fighting the pipeline for the past 15. “I am here today because we have tried every possible way to be heard and want somehow to gain the governor’s attention to how wrong this is, and the negative ways in which it will permanently scar us and our land,” Lyons said.

Thomas Joseph, a leader of the Jordan Cove protesters who occupies the governor’s ceremonial office Thursday, Nov. 21, talked with Gov. Kate Brown by phone during the afternoon. Protesters stayed until about 9:30 p.m. Nov. 21, when 21 were arrested for trespassing. (Jake Thomas/Oregon Capital Bureau)

Also arrested were Guy Berliner, 49, Shawn Creeden, 38, Simone Crowe, 31, Kelly Campbell, 47, Diana Rempe, 53, and Dineen Orourke, 24, all of Portland; Eric Howanietz, 38, Tyee Williams, 22, and Samuel Yergler, 34, all of Eugene; Rianna Koppel, 31, and Kayla Starr, 78, of Talent; Derek De Forest Pyle, 28, of Ashland; Domyo Burk, 48, of Beaverton; Jonathon Major, 42, of Jacksonville; Sofia Jokela, 28, and Henry Jokela, 25, of Milwaukie; Stephen Dear, 55, of Elmira; Emma Rohwer, 40, of Klamath Falls; Sally Malitz, 72, of Corvallis; and May Wallace, 69, of California.

State police said each faced charges of second-degree criminal trespassing and booked at the Marion County Jail. The crime is punishable by a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,250.

The jail’s online inmate roster showed four of those arrested — Lyons, Koppel, Creeden and Pyle — remained lodged as of Friday morning, Nov. 22.

Sidebar: BLM releases pipeline environmental statement

The federal Bureau of Land Management said Friday, Nov. 22, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Jordan Cove Energy Project and the related Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline.

BLM has authority to issue rights of way grants for natural gas pipelines crossing federal land. The USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation must also concur with the right of way.

The proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline is a 235-mile, 36-inch-diameter high-pressure natural gas transmission line that would traverse Southern Oregon. The pipeline would have the capacity to move about 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day. About 41 miles of the project would cross BLM public lands. About 30 miles would cross national forest system lands.

The pipeline would link existing natural gas transmission lines in Malin, Oregon, with the Jordan Cove Energy Project, a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Coos Bay. Gas from the plant would be exported.

Protests of the project must be submitted in writing and filed with the BLM director by Dec. 23. People can send letters or an electronic copy at BLM’s ePlanning project website,

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner

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