PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of people dressed in red with signs, buttons met Monday night with one common goal — fight the expansion of Zenith Energy in Portland.
Community members looking to shut down Zenith Energy’s crude oil terminal in Northwest Portland have been protesting in Portland in recent months. At the July 15 forum with city officials, they heard from leaders who say their hands are tied to an extent as are rails controlled by the federal government.
Mayor Ted Wheeler shares their concern.
“I’m also concerned, as your mayor, about the possibility of future fossil fuel exports from the city of Portland,” he said. “From my perspective, that’s a non-starter.”
The crowd expressed both support and criticism of city officials who brought ideas for blocking Zenith, including requiring full insurance to cover the risk to the community, tightening loopholes to ban unrefined fossil fuels and changing city codes. Those who live in these communities say more needs to be done.
“We appreciate the city’s recently proposed plan to addressed the plans of tar sands and crude oil but we must be acting more boldly and more quickly if we are ever to each 100% renewable energy,” Portland resident Jessica Beckett said.
Portland Fire and Rescue said they aren’t fully prepared to handle a potential emergency caused by the fuels but they have trained.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is looking to present every legal roadblock possible.
“We have to do everything we can legally do to make this the worst place possible for them to want to do business,” she said.
The Bureau of Development announced Zenith will be awarded a temporary occupancy permit to start using its newly built racking system for unloading tank cars.
The city said this is just the first of many meetings they want to have with the public.