Ethan A. Scarl
Ethan A. Scarl
Why I'm running.
I am a candidate for CD3 Delegate to bring attention a a grave concern that is urgent and local to Oregon.
I am sorry to have to tell you that Portland is operating on borrowed time. As is the aquatic life ofn the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
We can expect a magnitude 8 or 9 seismic event at any time. While all Pacific Northwest cities will suffer damage, Portland is uniquely poised for much more severe devastation.
I want to be sure that Congressman Blumenauer is aware that over 600 large and dangerous tanks are sitting in a 6-mile stretch of the Willamette river in NW Portland called the CEI Hub. Along with other chemicals, these tanks hold 90% of the state of Oregon’s fossil fuel supply and 100% of is aviation fuel.
Geologic history tells us that we are now living in the 3rd longest interval between magnitude 8 and 9 seismic events in the last 6000 years. If we should get 7 more quake-free years, we would be in 2nd place and in 21 years we would be in the very longest such interval on record. Not something to bet on.
Most of these tanks are old, many with no documentation, much less insurance. Worse, they sit on sand and dirt long dredged from the river bed, which will certainly liquify in the big event.
Senator Michael Dembrow’s bill SB 1567 may well eventually address tanks’ structural issues, but I am aware of no plan to address these tanks’ lack of stable foundations. I cannot conceive of a worse location for this Hub.
If no substantial remedial action is taken before the “big one” happens, both the Willamette and Columbia rivers will DIE! Tides will carry toxic fuels upstream as well as up and down the OR and WA coastlines. According to Senator Michael Dembrow, the spilled fuel could well exceed the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and disaster in the Gulf. There can also be large amounts of non-fuel toxins released into the air, and northern Forest Park and parts of North Portland could be destroyed by fire. And we will see a collapse of the Oregon economy caused by fuel starvation.
There are things that can be done, like reducing tank levels while alternative sites are planned and built, and building a stable retaining wall capable of keeping the fuel flood out of the river. Speed is critical – we just don’t know how critical.
Oregon deserves infrastructure mitigation, and it will happen if Democrats muster the political will.
Appropriate action may well require federal authority and assistance. This is why I am asking you to vote for me to be on the CD3 delegation, where I can work to assure that Congressman Blumenauer is aware of the situation and understands what needs to be done.
(Dr. Ethan A. Scarl)