With air horn blasts, thousands of big rigs and lots of camo hats, rural Oregon makes its voice heard

A rally and protest unfold in Salem on Thursday, Feb. 6. Timber Unity spent months organizing the latest display of objection to plans for environmental legislation seen as damaging to rural areas of Oregon. (Sam Stites/Oregon Capital Bureau)

Just before 5 a.m. Thursday, U.S. Highway 26 in Washington County was nearly pitch black and lifeless except west of North Plains, where a string of lights broke the still emptiness. 

A growing convoy of big rigs – log trucks, dump trucks and others  – parked outside of a weigh station.

Their drivers congregated in groups in between the trucks. The drivers, mostly men, for the most part were dressed alike: work boots, jeans, baseball caps and camo or blaze orange reflective jackets.

The mood was light as the truckers talked shop and swapped . . .