December 7, 2023

A letter was sent from the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners urging the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to deny an air quality permit for Zenith Energy.

Trains carrying oil move along the rail roadCounty commissioners have opposed Zenith Energy’s and other oil by rail facilities for years, including expressing concerns in a letter to Portland City Council during their initial consideration of Zeniths’ Land Use permit. Their letter also states that the Zenith’s commitment to renewable energy is undermined as crude oil at the facility continues to increase.

  • In 2016 the Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposing a surge of trains carrying crude oil through Multnomah County and the Columbia Gorge, and called on Washington State regulators to require a more thorough risk assessment before it allows a major oil transport terminal project to move forward in the Port of Vancouver.
  • In 2016 the Office of Sustainability completed a report assessing the community risk of shipping crude oil by rail through Multnomah County, including whether or not these shipments disproportionately impact environmental justice communities. 
  • In 2019 the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to oppose any new and expanded infrastructure for transporting or storing fossil fuels in Multnomah County. 
  • In 2021 the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability and the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management completed a study of the Critical Energy Infrastructure (CEI) Hub in Northwest Portland, identifying the magnitude and extent of potential fossil fuel releases at the CEI Hub from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and to evaluate the resulting damages.

Read the letter from the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.