Last year, Zenith Energy in NW Portland, quietly began exporting tar sands oil from its Willamette River facility. Now Zenith Energy is expanding its facility so that it can handle more than three times the number of oil train cars that currently pass through the city.This past Easter Sunday a group of folks from Extinction Rebellion took over the tracks at Zenith Energy in the industrial zone of NW Portland, dumping a truck full of soil over the train tracks and planting a 'victory over fossil fuels' garden - complete with sheds, scarecrows, and a real growing garden. After holding the tracks and stopping oil trains for nearly a day and a half, 11 people were arrested late the following afternoon.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Mia Reback, with the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, about why climate activists are taking direct action against Zenith Energy. We’re also joined by Jan Zuckerman and Ken Ward, members of Portland’s Extinction Rebellion, who were arrested April 23 and 28 on the train tracks at Zenith Energy.
Mia Reback is a community organizer in Portland, Oregon and has eight years of experience organizing to stop fossil fuel infrastructure projects in the Pacific Northwest. Mia played a principal role in campaigns to stop the proposed Pembina Propane Export Terminal in Portland, OR and Carty Gas Plants in Morrow County, OR. Mia also worked closely with elected officials and community organizations to develop and support Portland’s resolution opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure, Portland’s Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Code Ordinance, and Multnomah County and Portland resolutions to transition to 100% Renewable Energy.
Jan Zuckerman, a retired pubic school teacher, has worked with the Storyline method for most of her 30-year career. Jan co-founded the Environmental Middle School in 1995, a Portland Public School (now Sunnyside Environmental K-8 School) with a focus on place-based education and service learning. She is a Storyline trainer and actively involved in the community with climate and social justice work. Since her retirement, Jan has continued to work in schools to mentor youth and collaborate with teachers across the district. She serves on the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee to help oversee the implementation of the Climate Justice Resolution for grades K-12.
Ken Ward is a longtime climate activist and one of the Valve Turners, who shut off the flow of tars sands oil into the United States at five locations in 2016, featured in the film, The Reluctant Radical.
Continued calls to city council are needed to ask the City of Portland to use its authority to step in immediately and halt expansion of tar sands shipments through our community. Specifically, we are asking the mayor and city commissioners to immediately hold a public hearing where representatives from Zenith Energy will meet with Portland residents and local government officials to hear their concerns. Feel free to call again even if you have already called about this issue. Here's an example message: "Thank you for opposing Zenith Energy’s tar sands oil transport in Portland. In accordance with the City of Portland’s policy of opposing oil trains, I urge the City of Portland to hold a public hearing where representatives from Zenith Energy will meet with Portland residents and local government officials to hear their concerns. Because the expansion of the Zenith Energy’s facility is already underway, this hearing should occur as soon as possible."
- Wheeler (503-823-4127 opinion line, 503-823-4120 main line)
- Eudaly (503-823-4682)
- Fish (503-823-3589)
- Fritz (503-823-3008)
- Hardesty (503-823-4151)