Today, after over three years of dedicated grassroots organizing, the City of Portland has listened to thousands of us and denied the land use permit for Zenith Energy’s crude oil facility. WE DID IT!
In an unambiguous statement this morning, the City declared that Zenith’s oil-by-rail storage and transfer facility is inconsistent with the City’s land use rules, and denied them from receiving a crucial Land Use Compatibility Statement (LUCS). Now, Zenith must stop transporting tar sands and crude oil entirely. By denying the LUCS, the City concluded that Zenith’s oil-by-rail operations are inconsistent with our own land use goals, following years of policy commitments to reduce carbon emissions, address the climate emergency, and oppose oil trains.
In his statement on the denial, Commissioner Dan Ryan wrote “It is time to stop kicking our declarations down the road of intention—and start acting with the urgency needed at this critical time in history.” We couldn’t agree more.
For over three years, thousands of community members (like you!) have been fighting this crude oil facility, everywhere from the streets, the river and train tracks, to the courtrooms and City Hall. The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, 20 Oregon state legislators, and 46 neighborhood organizations all separately submitted letters and statements demanding this permit be denied. Tens of thousands of people marched in the streets, signed petitions, and made calls.
When we organize, we win. This announcement is yet another example of how when people come together, we can stop the fossil fuel industry from continuing to destroy our climate, our communities, and our shared future. Grassroots organizing works.
Zenith thought this permit would be a simple and easy box to check, one they’d get by just putting their fancy lawyers in front of City officials. But we didn’t allow it. Together with our amazing coalition partners (shout out to Columbia Riverkeeper, Breach Collective, CedarAction, Willamette Riverkeeper, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Families for Climate, NAACP Portland, Portland Youth Climate Council, Stand Up to Oil, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Sierra Club, XRPDX, Sunrise PDX, Portland Audubon, and more!) we shined a light on this process and made this an issue the City could not ignore. You helped us to that. We did this together. Read the response from us and our amazing coalition members here.
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