Former Corvallis resident, Leonard Higgins, returns for the “Shut It Down Party – Corvallis,” an event to raise money to defray the costs that fell on him and his fellow Valve Turners for their act of protest.
They face large bills for fines, legal fees, and travel costs after they briefly shut down oil pipelines in four states to protest the rush to extract Canadian tar sands bitumen – a toxic substance many scientists say should not be used to make fuel at all.
The 21-and-over event takes place Saturday, April 14 at the Odd Fellows Hall, 223 SW 2nd Street, in downtown Corvallis, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Music will be provided by Gumbo, the Plaehn-Hino blues band, and Bryson Skaar.
“In these times of climate chaos and a U.S. administration determined to ignore it, these women and men are extraordinary examples of the courage and commitment it takes to act boldly to inspire others,” said Jean Townes, an event organizer. “We hope all of Corvallis will come out to support them.”
Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Eugene, which has provided pro bono legal services for the Valve Turners and other climate activists, will also be at the event. She said after Higgins’s trial, “After more than 20 years of defending activists, it never gets easier, but I know of no other pursuit in life that I would rather have than this one.”
Higgins was at risk of a 10-year sentence. He and his fellow Valve Turner, Ken Ward, avoided prison time, but Michael Foster is now serving a one-year sentence in a North Dakota prison, while Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston still await trial in Minnesota.
The suggested donation for admission is $20. Checks can be made out to “Climate Direct Action”. If unable to attend, checks can also be sent directly to 6226 6th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107.
By John M. Burt