In 2014, OPB reported that a former asphalt terminal in Portland had begun to handle crude oil trains. In 2018, after a hiatus in oil shipments, the same facility was purchased by Zenith Energy, and it began moving rail shipments of tar sands oil through Portland. Now in 2019, the terminal could increase its throughput of trains carrying the world’s dirtiest fuel in Portland, OR, and other communities along the Columbia River. Zenith Energy wants to expand shipments of heavy tar sands crude at its Willamette River facility in Portland to one train per week, or possibly more. Mile-long trains transporting tar sands oil to Portland would travel along the Columbia River. Despite the City of Portland’s opposition to crude oil trains and efforts to legislate against new fossil fuel infrastructure, Zenith began building new rail unloading infrastructure to handle heavy oil in early 2018. In February 2018, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed opposition to Zenith’s expansion plans.
Like Global Partners at Port Westward, the Zenith terminal would move heavy tar sands oil. The potential for a sinking oil spill in the Willamette or Columbia River adds severe environmental risks to crude oil trains that are also known to pose unacceptable public safety hazards. Learn more about tar sands and Zenith’s dangerous plans.