On June 3rd, 2016, all eyes in the region turned to the tiny town of Mosier, Oregon, as firefighters battled for 14 hours to contain a dangerous fire from a derailed Union Pacific train carrying highly flammable Bakken crude oil. Students at the Mosier Community School and some residents were evacuated, oil spread in a sheen on the Columbia River, and the community of Mosier lost sewer and water service for days. Once the fire was out, tribal leaders, elected officials, and local community members gathered at the site to call for an end to oil train traffic through the Columbia River Gorge.
One year later, Mosier’s groundwater is still contaminated, and oil and railroad companies are seeking to expand oil and coal train traffic through the Columbia River Gorge, despite opposition from Columbia River Tribes, the town of Mosier, and many larger cities along the potential route.
In coming months, Washington’s Governor Inslee will make a final decision about whether to deny the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal in Vancouver, a project that would bring up to five loaded oil trains each day through the Columbia River Gorge. Mosier’s experience should be all the evidence that Governor Inslee needs to deny the oil train terminal, and we will gather to send a clear message of support for Mosier, tribal communities threatened by oil trains, and cities like Vancouver, Spokane, and Portland who are standing up to oil.
We are deeply grateful for the hard work of Mosier elected officials, tribal leaders, and others in the region who have continued to press for a thorough cleanup and an end to reckless oil trains.