City council to debate oil terminal tonight

Meeting moved to Hilton to accommodate large crowd

By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer



The city will hold a public hearing on a resolution opposing the proposed oil-by-rail transfer terminal tonight at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, next door to City Hall.

In anticipation of a large crowd, city councilors chose to move the meeting to the hotel’s Heritage Ballroom, where there is room for up to 1,000 people. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will also be broadcast on CVTV on Comcast Channel 23.

Councilors Jack Burkman, Bart Hansen and Larry Smith have advocated for the resolution, pledging to fight the oil-handling facility being proposed by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies.

Councilors Anne McEnerny-Ogle and Alishia Topper also support the resolution.

Mayor Tim Leavitt and Councilor Bill Turlay have said they’ll wait until after the public hearing to say whether they’ll vote with the other councilors opposing the project.

In addition to opposing the project slated for the Port of Vancouver, the resolution would also oppose any other proposals resulting in more Bakken crude oil being hauled through Clark County.

If the resolution is approved, it would call on the Port of Vancouver commissioners to terminate the lease with Tesoro-Savage. Port Commissioner Brian Wolfe noted the port has no grounds to terminate the lease. The resolution would also urge Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the ultimate say on whether the transfer terminal is built, to block it from moving forward.

On Monday morning, Friends of the Columbia Gorge issued a press release saying the oil terminal “pose an unnecessary and extreme risk to Vancouver, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area and rail communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

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This story will be updated.