The Multnomah County Office of Sustainability and the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management have issued a draft report on the anticipated damages from the region’s major fuel hub in the event of the Cascadia Subduction Earthquake or other seismic event.
The Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub is a six-mile stretch of industrial development in between Sauvie Island and the Fremont Bridge along the west shore of the Willamette River. More than 90% of all liquid fuel in Oregon is stored at facilities in the CEI Hub. This includes the gas and diesel supply for the Portland metro area, as well as all of the jet fuel for the Portland International Airport. Other hazardous materials are also stored at the CEI Hub.
The Hub — mostly built before the current understanding of the region’s earthquake risk — sits on unstable soil subject to liquefaction and lateral spreading in an earthquake.
Beginning in 2019, the Multnomah County Commissioners sought to protect the County and the community from the cost of damage by exploring strategies to shift financial responsibility for risks associated with the infrastructure to the companies that own and earn revenues from the infrastructure.
During the development of the 2020 Multnomah County Budget, County Commissioners Sharon Meieran and Commissioner Susheela Jayapal teamed up to allocate funds to inventory the costs associated with those risks. The aim of the study is to better understand and, if necessary, rebalance risk in subsequent actions.
“The potential environmental, economic, and real human damages detailed in this report are grim. We must do everything in our power to prevent catastrophic harm, including holding industry accountable for doing their part,’’ said Commissioner Meieran. “These are huge risks our community bears, and the industry responsible for the landscape of risk should certainly be part of the solutions -- and not just after the fact.”
Part of the study includes gathering public input during the drafting phase to help ensure all available information has been collected to accurately characterize the risk. The project team has requested public input from Tribal Governments, nearby communities and neighborhood associations that may be impacted by potential failures at the CEI Hub, as well as the community at large.
“This year has demonstrated to us how vulnerable we are as a community when it comes to natural and human caused disasters and a pandemic,’’ said Commissioner Jayapal. “This report shows without a doubt how fragile the area is around the fuel hub in NW Portland. It is important for us to not just acknowledge the potential devastating consequences of a major earthquake, but to take the steps necessary to greatly reduce the risks that currently exist.”
The project team will host a live, online, community meeting for interested residents on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Please register online if you wish to attend this virtual public meeting
You can download the report and a presentation that provides a high-level overview of the studies findings to date.
Even if you can't make the public meeting, you can still provide your feedback in writing. Please use this link to leave your comments about the report
Please submit all public comments by August 15, 2021.