After two months of reflection and research, XRPDX members, at our February 8th full chapter meeting, officially adopted two campaigns to focus on in 2022. As reported in last week’s newsletter, we will be working to:
- Shut down the “Hub of Doom” including Zenith
- Push the City of Portland to act now on the climate emergency
These two intertwined campaigns have been part of XRPDX’s work since the chapter was founded in 2019. As we start to come out of COVID, we are renewing our commitment to these two projects.
Shut Down “The Hub of Doom”
When XRPDX activists built a garden on the railroad yard at Zenith Energy in April 2019, we issued a demand to the City of Portland: that the City rezone the Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub from industrial park to open space. We renew that demand now. That 6-mile stretch of land between Forest Park and the Willamette River should not be filled with hundreds of thousands of gallons of poisonous, dangerous, flammable fuel. When we were tending our garden there, I noticed an osprey standing on the ground and told it to please, please leave. Animals and birds need that area as green space.
The more we learn about the CEI Hub, also known as the “Hub of Doom,” the more disturbing the news is. In early February 2022, ECO Northwest released the final version of a report on the consequences of an earthquake on the land, water, and inhabitants of the area. Because the CEI Hub is located on a liquefaction zone and because the majority of the fuel tanks are old, the study shows that the consequence of a magnitude 8 or 9 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake would be a disaster on the level of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdown or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Flammable, volatile fuels would contaminate our soil and water for decades to come and there would be massive casualties. The entire state of Oregon including airports would experience sudden, massive fuel shortages. Having 90% of Oregon’s fuels stored in a liquefaction zone is insane. We will work with allies to build a campaign to shut down Zenith, and distribute the fuels to other locations as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels.
The recent decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals, upholding the City of Portland’s denial of a Land Use Compatibility Statement for Zenith’s operation, is a positive step. However, we are concerned that no one from the City has announced how or when Portland plans to provide the requested “findings” and what the City’s response will be. Again, we are living in the Climate Emergency and we need to take emergency actions, not go forward with business as usual.
We are in the process of creating a team that will lead this campaign, planning strategy and an escalating series of actions. Through the course of the campaign, we will build the numbers of people who understand the dangers to our city and region, and take action, stopping business as usual as together we call for systemic, decisive change.
Act Now on Climate Emergency
XR PDX’s second direct action, in our early days, was based on our demand that government tell the truth about the climate emergency. In June 2019, XR rebels blocked the street in front of City Hall, demanding action from the City. Many allied organizations were also pressuring the City to tell the truth. Follow up actions came throughout 2019 and early 2020, and on June 30, 2020, the City Council voted for the Climate Emergency Declaration, which several of us testified for.
Now in the first quarter of 2022, the Act Now on the Climate Emergency (ANCE) campaign has a goal of putting some teeth in Portland’s Climate Emergency Declaration. A year and a half after the City Council unanimously passed the declaration, there still are no concrete goals around carbon reduction. Currently emissions continue to rise in Portland, and the Rose City has been hammered by wildfire smoke, erratic weather patterns, and the lethal Heat Dome of June 2021. Without any goals — 10% reduction per year is what we propose, in line with the science — we will never turn this trajectory around. The City needs to publicly post a comprehensive plan with a timeline and benchmarks for action to reduce carbon emissions on the scale needed.
An XR team is coming together to continue the research and analysis and map out a strategy, based in mobilizing many more Portlanders, capable of winning concrete change.
Please let us know if you want to work on either of these campaigns, by attending an Action meeting and/or sending us an email at email@example.com.