Protesters coming down after two days dangling from St. Johns Br - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters coming down after two days dangling from St. Johns Bridge

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The St. Johns Bridge was shut down for a "complex operation" involving multiple governmental and law enforcement agencies as Greenpeace protesters dangled from the bridge for the second day. 

The bridge, which since early Wednesday morning had been the site of a Greenpeace protest with activists blocking a ship from leaving the area on its way to the arctic for an oil drilling operation, was closed Thursday in both directions to all travelers, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

By 4:30 p.m., the protesters were being lowered to waiting sheriff's office patrol boats below. 

"It's been wildly successful and now millions more people know about this project," a Greenpeace spokeswoman told FOX 12 about the protest. 

Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation said ODOT closed the bridge at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard at around 2:30 p.m.

A Coast Guard spokesman said they announced to the protesters that they were in violation of various federal laws and should leave the bridge on their own.

Police said several protesters on the bridge did voluntarily leave by 4 p.m.

Police, fire and Coast Guard representatives said they could not disclose their plans for dealing with the protesters or provide a timeline for reopening the bridge, calling the situation a "complex operation."

A spokesman said details would be revealed "once the operation is complete." 

By 3:45 p.m., the Coast Guard had announced that the river was closed to all traffic from Kelly Point to Swan Island. Kayakers under the bridge, dubbed kayaktivists, were warned if they did not go back to the beach, they could be arrested. 

A Coast Guard spokesman said Shell had expressed a desire to re-launch its icebreaker vessel, the MSV Fennica, on Thursday afternoon.

The ship left dock at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and headed downriver toward the protesters on its scheduled trip to the Arctic, but ended up turning around and returning upriver.

A Coast Guard spokesman said there was no timeline in place to possibly re-launch the ship Thursday. 

This is a developing story, please stay with Fox 12 and KPTV.com for the latest.

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