PORTLAND, OR - It was a scene that looked straight out of the hit TV show Portlandia, but a protest on a Portland bridge was very real.
It started around 2 a.m. Wednesday when 13 Greenpeace activists trying to prevent a Shell ship from leaving the city suspended themselves from the St. John's Bridge. The icebreaker Fennica was on its way to the Arctic to help with oil drilling.
"There's no doubt about the risk that Shell drilling in the Arctic poses to the Arctic, to the local environment there, but also to the world," one protester said.
As the colorful protest stretched from hours into days, the scene just got more "Portland," with kayaktivists filling the Columbia River, supporters lining the banks and an artist getting inspiration.
"Actually, it looks pretty fun," said painter Quin Sweetman, who set up her easel in view of the protest. "I'd like to be up there right now. It would be breezy. Maybe hot, actually with the sun."
The protesters started to feel the heat about 40 hours in when Portland firefighters lowered themselves over the bridge and severed the lines that connected three of the activists, finally allowing the Fennica to pass under the bridge. After that, the remaining protesters lowered themselves while police waited to cite them for criminal trespassing and other charges.
Greenpeace is calling this one a "symbolic victory," even as the Fennica travels the Arctic full steam ahead.