portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

actions & protests | environment


Coal Trains and Barges will go through Portland and Vancouver unless we stop them. This short article shows where the trains will go and where they will leave a path of environmental damage.
On Saturday, August 18 from noon to 3:00 a NO COAL Demonstration will be held to voice opposition to the proposed massive coal shipments from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia. Coal trains with open cars (8 full and 8 empty) plus 15 full coal barges (15 empty) will go through our Portland neighborhoods every day for decades to come and would certainly change the Northwest from green to gritty. The No Coal Demonstration is a chance for neighbors to voice their objections.  People are encouraged to bring signs and banners and/or wear costumes. Demonstrators will assemble at the St Johns RR Cut near the Peninsula Fred Meyer on N Lombard. Handouts, black balloons and some signs and banners will be available to people who don't bring their own. We plan to create a ribbon of citizens against coal along Lombard from the Cut toward the Portsmouth RR tunnel where 2 more trains are slated. The coal transports will impact all Metropolitan Portland -- and beyond. The Rail Road Cut was selected as the starting point of the No Coal Demonstration because the Cut and the near-by Portsmouth Tunnel contain both routes of the coal trains in close proximity.  People from everywhere are invited to participate.

The Cut dissects the Portland residential neighborhoods of St Johns and Portsmouth and is the very spot where 12 coal trains will rumble through every day. The trains enter Portland after crossing the Columbia River from Vancouver where they expect 26 coal trains per day.  After leaving North Portland the proposed route of these trains would be to cross the Willamette on the St Johns RR Bridge, then turn right towards the ocean and spew coal dust in Forest Park; Scapoose, St Helens, forests and farms on its way to Clatskanie where the coal will be loaded onto ships and cause even more environmental damage.  

Less than a mile away from the RR Cut, 2 more full (2 empty) mile-and-a-half long coal trains will traverse Columbia Boulevard at a grade crossing then continue through the tunnel under New Columbia public housing and the historic Mock House.  The trains would continue through Swan Island, Northeast and Southeast Portland slowly making its way to Coos Bay going through Milwaukie, Oregon City, Eugene, many small communities and farmland on the way. However, the North Portland leg of this route may only be temporary.   When a track is built that allows trains to turn south near the beginning of I-84 the trains would use the tracks from Troutdale to SE Portland alongside the I -84 freeway instead of the Columbia Blvd/ North Portland tunnel route. Many more residential neighborhoods would be impacted including Hollywood, Lloyd, and Laurelhurst, to name only a few.  

All the coal trains come from Montana and Wyoming and go through the Columbia Gorge on there way to Portland and Vancouver. All but 2 of the trains go through Vancouver. Vancouver shares the same air and water shed as Portland. What happens to them, happens to us.
The number of trains from the six proposed Oregon and Washington coal terminals:
10 full trains per day, Port of Cherry Point, near Bellingham, Washington.
1 full train per day, Port of Grays Harbor, Washington
9 full rains per dayPort of Longview, Washington
6 full trains per day, Port Westward, Clatskanie, Oregon, these go through Vancouver first.
2 full trains per day, Port of Coos Bay, Oregon, these go on the Oregon side of the river from Hermiston.
Port Morrow, Boardman, Oregon; 15 full Barges from Boardman to Port Westward
Double the number of trains and barges. Empty ones must return to Wyoming and Montana to be refilled.

There are many reasons to oppose the coal trains and barges --  A pollutant and problem package of noise, carcinogenic diesel emissions, toxic coal dust drift, blockage and disruption of pedestrian and vehicle traffic which is not just a nuisance but includes impediment of emergency vehicles, negative impact on both recreational and business use of the Columbia Rver (from both bargesand trains), loss of tourism, degradation of farmland and the final insult - the blowback of toxic waste to the Northwest after the coal is burned in Asia.  

People from everywhere are invited to participate. The coal transport affect us all.  

Like our FB page, read articles linked on it, contribute links and comments to it and respond to action items.  http://www.facebook.com/NorthPortlandCoalCommittee

homepage: homepage: http://www.goodgrowthnw.org
phone: phone: 503-285-3131