PORTLAND, Ore. — (Keely Chalmers, KGW) A group of Portlanders are sending some help to those in North Dakota fighting to protect their water.
And it’s in the form of a 20-year-old school bus.
Hundreds of people are camping out at the Standing Rock Reservation trying to stop an oil pipeline from being built across Native American land and under the Missouri River.
But with the cold weather fast approaching, supporters in Portland have come up with a very colorful and unique way to help.
It’s called the Bunk Bus.
Portland retirees Mike Horner and Harlan Shober dreamt up the idea more than a month ago.
“This is built for providing a warm place out of the weather, for the water protectors in North Dakota,” explained Shober.
The men bought the bus for $2400, took out all the seats, and put in specially insulated walls and flooring.
All the work was done by volunteers.
Even the colorful native American artwork on the outside was the work of volunteer artists.
The bus will be equipped with bunk beds, a propane heater, and a clinical space to offer injured protesters a place to heal.
“People are going sort of head to head with the police out there right now and they’re being pepper sprayed and shot with various projectiles,” Horner said.
This weekend, the men will drive the bus over a thousand miles to the Standing Rock Reservation and donate it to medical teams there.
They say it won’t be their last trip.
With the help of the Climate Action Coalition, the pair raised more than $18,000 for the project through GoFundMe.
That money that will not only cover the cost of this bus and all its supplies, but it will also help pay for a second bus.
Shober and Horner say when it comes stopping fossil fuel development, protecting our climate, and helping those at Standing Rock, they’re in it for the long haul.
“As long as people at the site want the shelter,” Horner said. “We’ll keep doing it.”