These past few weeks, it’s come to light that members of the Portland City Council spent the end of last year striking a dirty backdoor deal with Zenith Energy.
Thousands of Portlanders have spent years calling for an end to Zenith Energy’s oil-by-rail operations. We’ve shown up to tell our city leaders that we don’t want dangerous oil-by-rail through our communities, putting our health, safety, and climate at risk. We thought in 2021 that the City was finally listening to us when they denied Zenith a crucial permit.
But last October, City Council turned their back on Portlanders and decided to grant Zenith a land use permit, allowing the company to continue bringing in crude oil trains for 5 more years. This decision was a shock – the City hadn’t made an effort to gather public input before granting the permit.
Now, with the truth coming to light, City Council’s decision makes more sense, and it’s even more clearly a betrayal. Records requests have revealed that Commissioners Rubio and Ryan were coordinating with Zenith officials to ensure they would receive their permit. And while the City was shutting out public participation, Zenith was treating Rubio and Ryan to VIP boat tours and site visits.
We deserve better — for our City Council members to be accountable to us, to listen to our concerns. We don’t deserve to have our elected officials going behind our backs, making a deal with an out-of-state oil company that is threatening our community’s health and safety. We’ve tried to engage with our City Councilors, but are largely being ignored and disrespected. So, we’re taking the fight to them.