Do you live in the Blast Zone of Zenith’s Oil Trains?
Use this map to see if you live in the “Blast Zone,” or the area most at risk in the event of an oil train derailment and explosion.
The oil inside railcars is highly pressurized, and trains can derail and explode, causing dangerous repercussions to our local communities, our health and safety, and our environment. From Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in 2013, Mosier, Oregon in 2016, and most recently in East Palestine, Ohio in February 2023 (not oil, but still a dangerous train explosion) — derailments unfortunately have occurred and will continue to, since transporting explosive, chemical-laden fossil fuels at high speeds will always be inherently dangerous. (Learn more here from the Sightline Institute: A Timeline of Oil Train Derailments in Pictures)
Many living near these rail lines may not even be aware of these potential dangers, and should a derailment or collision happen, few local governments even have the equipment or trained personnel to deal with an accident involving large amounts of such volatile materials.
If you live in the Blast Zone, your voice in this fight really matters. You have a personal stake in this issue and City Council should personally hear from you. Use the phone numbers and email addresses above to share your concerns with Portland City Council.
Take action to stop Zenith.
We say no to 5 more years of dangerous and explosive oil trains in our communities.
Zenith Energy is a Houston-based oil company that operates a terminal in NW Portland in the Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub. The facility is a former asphalt facility that became a fossil fuel transloading facility in 2013. The 39-acre site has 84 tanks with a total storage capacity of over 1.5 million barrels. In 2017, Zenith quietly started receiving tar sands and crude oil on mile-long trains from Canada and North Dakota. Most, if not all, of the product Zenith handles is destined for overseas markets—it’s not even used here in Oregon.
For years, community members across the city have been opposing Zenith Energy. Together we’ve rallied, called, wrote, built a garden on the tracks, held a 60-hour vigil at the facility, educated our neighbors about the problem, sued the company, wrote songs, lobbied our elected officials, and so much more.
Then, in 2021, City Council finally listened to the people of Portland and denied a key land use permit for Zenith Energy, the Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS). But in October of 2022, behind everyone’s backs, the City quietly approved Zenith’s third request for a LUCS, paving the way for Zenith to continue transporting crude oil for 5 more years before supposedly transitioning to “renewable” fuels. The City turned its back on 46 neighborhood associations, Multnomah County, 20 state legislators, 17 environmental and community organizations, and thousands of Portland residents who all expressed concern over Zenith Energy and originally urged the City to deny this permit. The October 2022 decision was made without any community or Tribal input on the process.
Now, people are outraged and are calling on the City to rescind the LUCS, hold a public hearing about this issue, and to meet with environmental and community leaders about this issue.
Join the 350PDX Fossil Fuel Resistance Team
Since 2013, our team has been a key member of the highly successful movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground in the Pacific Northwest. We have an active and robust volunteer team that works on campaigns together, and we’d love for you to join us! We meet every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, rotating between Zoom and in-person in 350PDX’s office on Mississippi Ave. Contact email@example.com for more information and to get plugged in.