Extinction Rebellion PDX will protest Zenith Energy’s continued operation at their transshipment facility, gathering at Highway 30 and Kittredge at noon on June 4, then marching half a mile to Zenith’s front gate at 5501 NW Front Ave. The name of this campaign, “Doom or Bloom” encompasses the choices we face, at Portland’s Critical Energy Hub and all over. Doom signifies what will happen to the earth if we do not stop burning fossil fuels. Bloom signifies a future of clean renewable energy with environmental, racial, social, and economic justice.
Zenith stores and exports volatile shale oil transported into Portland via train from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. Shale oil contains carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This toxic fuel is loaded on tanker ships on the Willamette River and sent to refineries out of state. In a recent count of train cars in the Zenith yard, there were 50 tankers carrying crude oil into the facility. It operates in an earthquake liquefaction zone, vulnerable not just to the predicted massive subduction zone earthquake, but also to local earthquakes in the Portland area.
As our allies at Portland Audubon pointed out years ago: “These oil trains move through neighborhoods in North and Northeast Portland, putting 1 in 4 residents within the blast zone of this oil trains.” From https://audubonportland.org/our-work/protect/climate-change/zenith-energy-and-tar-sands-oil-in-portland/
Zenith expanded its processing capacity in defiance of the City’s policy against new fossil fuel infrastructure, using a grandfathered construction permit. Last August, the City of Portland denied Zenith a land use compatibility statement which they needed for an air quality permit renewal to continue operating. The Land Use Board of Appeals upheld that denial, while asking for further information from the City. Zenith has appealed the decision; meanwhile, their dangerous trains continue to run and the facility continues to store and export oil. Zenith’s operations are NOT compatible with sensible land use between the Willamette River and Forest Park, especially during the Climate Emergency.
Our June 4 peaceful protest will include a short march, music, art, street theater, and rally with powerful speakers. For more information and to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s bloom in the Rose City, not passively accept our doom!
[Note: this blog post was co-authored by Margaret Butler. – Ed.]