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Out of the Labs, Into the Streets: Oregonians March for Science

An organizer says momentum for Saturday's march grew after the Women's March drew a large crowd in Pendleton. (Pat Hall Walters)
An organizer says momentum for Saturday's march grew after the Women's March drew a large crowd in Pendleton. (Pat Hall Walters)
April 21, 2017

PENDLETON, Ore. – Marchers in cities big and small across the nation this Saturday say the evidence is clear: It's time to stand up for science.

Although organizers of the March for Science are trying to steer the marches away from politics, many in the scientific community are concerned about the new administration's denial of evidence for man-made climate change and its silencing of federal scientists and national park employees.

The main march will be in Washington D.C., but many smaller sister marches will be going on in Oregon.

Andrea Mann is helping organize a march in Pendleton.

"We find it's important to talk about science and let people know how much science touches everybody's lives and how important it is to have fact-based science," she said.

At least 14 sister marches are planned across the state in major cities as well as smaller cities like Saint Helens, Klamath Falls, Coos Bay and more. Many will include family-friendly activities such as science fairs to promote the importance of science.

The March also coincides with Earth Day.

Mann says Pendleton has become more politically active after a large turnout for the Women's March in January. After that, organizers decided to focus their efforts on this march. However, Mann, who used to work for the USDA, says a lot of researchers and scientists who work for the federal government locally don't feel as if they can risk attending the march.

"A lot of them have been given the gag order," she added. "They can't talk about climate change and science. They want to be there for the march but their employers may not allow them to."

The National March for Science website also denies the march is political. It notes a nationwide trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and asks, "Can we afford not to speak out in [science's] defense?"

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR