Stop the Zenith Tar Sands Oil Expansion and New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Portland, Oregon

Portland City Commissioners


In late 2018, Zenith Energy Management finalized an acquisition of an oil export facility in Northwest Portland and immediately began construction on an expansion project based on permits acquired in 2014 by former owners Arc Logistics. Zenith receives shipments of oil via rail and then transfers them onto ships headed for Asian markets using a nearby dock owned by Chevron. The expansion project could allow them to pass-through up to four times as much oil by rail as is currently possible at the site.

On March 6, 2019, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a public statement saying:

“We will continue to do everything we can to limit this [Zenith] expansion or get rid of it all together.”

To date, construction continues on the Zenith tar-sands by rail expansion project in Northwest Portland. CSE is working with partners to develop an accurate understanding of the regulatory context in which this expansion is taking place, to figure out which government entities are responsible, and stop the project.

In early May, CSE helped organize 16 organizations to send a letter to leaders at the City of Portland outlining a roadmap to stop the Zenith expansion project and phase-out all fossil fuel infrastructure. Now, we're collecting signatures and sending our roadmap again.

Please Sign This Petition and Keep the Momentum Going to Stop Zenith and Continue to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Our Community.

Petition by
Nick Caleb
Portland, Oregon

To: Portland City Commissioners
From: [Your Name]

Given the urgency of the Zenith oil terminal expansion, the immediate danger it and other fossil fuel infrastructure poses to Portland’s residents, and the fact that there is presently nothing preventing the issuance of permits for new large fossil fuel facilities and expansions, we propose the following roadmap for dealing with the immediate and long-term risks of fossil fuel infrastructure in our community.

(1) Immediately Prohibit City action That Promotes New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

The City of Portland should immediately halt all permitting of fossil fuel infrastructure, and explore more permanent code changes to ban fossil fuel infrastructure entirely.

(2) Stop the Zenith Oil Terminal Expansion

The City of Portland should declare a city emergency and issue a stop work order on the Zenith project until a full health and environmental assessment has been made and an adequate first response plan created. In line with Portland City Council’s resolution on oil trains (No. 37164), the City of Portland should call a public hearing and compel Zenith’s attendance bearing complete and accurate information on the project.

(3) Reinstitute the Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments (FFTZA)

The City of Portland has stated that it plans to reinstate its zoning amendments banning the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure in Summer 2019. CSE was part of a group of non-profits who intervened to defend the ban from an attack by the fossil fuel industry. The City should ensure the amendments make no allowances for expanding existing projects.

(4) Uphold Past Policy Commitments on Climate

Portland’s Resolution No. 37164 (oil train policy) and Resolution No. 37168 (fossil fuel infrastructure policy) compel the city to take affirmative action to investigate and address existing oil train and fossil fuel infrastructure. The City of Portland has not adequately followed these resolutions and addressed either smaller storage and transfer facilities, or pass-through projects. The City of Portland should commit to upholding these resolutions in their entirety in all its bureaus.

(5) Develop Plans for a Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Phase-Out

Existing fossil fuel infrastructure poses an existential threat to Portlanders, both from its contributions to climate change and severe seismic vulnerabilities. The City of Portland should engage community members in a plan for the managed decline of existing fossil fuel infrastructure, starting with groundbreaking policies, such as Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds, that ensure polluters pay for the risks they impose on communities.


We appreciate everything that the City of Portland is doing to take action on climate and stop the threats of fossil fuel infrastructure. We are looking to you to boldly lead on protecting communities from the imminent threat posed by the Zenith Oil Terminal Expansion. We look forward to working together to address this health and safety issue and prevent future problems of this type.