WITH ONE MONTH OLD BROTHER CROSBY in the house, Elle, age 4, and Landon, age 2, might especially miss the hour’s sleep we lose to Daylight Saving Time this weekend as clocks spring forward one hour from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday, March 9. Daylight Savings Time also means longer hours of play for everyone this spring and summer. Crosby, Elle and Landon are the children of Ryan and Amanda Tompkins of Clatskanie. Chief Photo by Amanda Gail Moravec
by Deborah Steele Hazen
Issues related to the transport of crude oil nationally and locally are under scrutiny.
On Feb. 25, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring all shippers to test product from the Bakken region of North Dakota to ensure the proper classification of crude oil before it is transported by rail.
The emergency order was made in response to several train accidents in the past year, involving explosions and fires resulting from derailments of train cars carrying crude (unrefined) oil from the Bakken shale field, including a disaster that took 47 lives and leveled a town in Quebec last July.
According to a Wall Street Journal report last week, Bakken crude has been found to be more volatile than other oils and more likely to emit flammable gases.
The U.S. Department of Transportation emergency order also requires that crude oil shipped by trains must be shipped in more modern, robust tank cars – not the thinner-walled kind that were involved in the explosions.
Port Westward Oil Transloading Operation
Bakken crude has been brought by rail to the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery (ethanol plant) at the Port Westward industrial park near Clatskanie via the Portland & Western (P&W) short line railroad since November of 2012, when the plant’s former owners, Cascade Kelly, began the oil transloading operation. After arriving by rail at Port Westward, the “light sweet crude” is transloaded onto barges for shipment to West Coast refineries.
The Chief first reported the oil transloading operation on the front page of its Nov. 22, 2012 edition.
Global Partners LP, of Waltham, Mass., purchased the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery (CPBR) in February 2013, including the largest ethanol plant on the West Coast, a rail transloading facility, 200,000 barrels of tank storage capacity, and a deep-water marine terminal with access to the 1,200-foot leased dock on the Columbia River at Port Westward, which is owned by the Port of St. Helens.
A Fortune 500® company (GLP on the New York Stock Exchange), Global Partners LP owns, controls or has access to one of the largest terminal networks of refined petroleum products and renewable fuels in the Northeastern United States, and is a leader in the logistics of transporting crude and other products.
Global’s purchase of CPBR’s Port Westward facilities allowed the company to expand its operations to the West Coast, and to operate the ethanol plant when it is profitable to do so.
“We believe in the growth of ethanol production in combination with oil transloading at Port Westward,” Edward Faneuil, executive vice president and general counsel for Global, told The Chief Tuesday.
Global has not been involved in any of the accidents involving Bakken crude, Faneuil said.
Safety Stressed at Port Meeting
During a presentation at a Port of St. Helens meeting Feb. 26, CPBR general manager Dan Luckett said that, even before last week’s ruling, 89 percent of the cars arriving at Port Westward were of the new design – an improvement from the “75 percent plus” in 2013.
Additionally, Luckett said, the CPBR staff conducts inspections of all the cars for safety and to insure that they are properly placarded. With the exception of a few when the operation first began, “every car we’ve received has had proper placarding.”
Representatives of P&W talked about the inspections they conduct of the cars and the track, beyond what is required by federal and state law.
Shannon Elston, vice president of transportation for the Pacific Region and acting general manager for P&W, told the Port commission and the audience in attendance at the Columbia City Community Hall that before every oil train leaves Portland for Port Westward, a track inspector is sent ahead looking for obstructions and track defects. “If one is found the train isn’t going to run.”
Elston spoke about the millions of dollars worth of improvements that have been made to the line through Columbia County, and the plans for more. “Hot boxes” and dragging detectors, one at Rainier and one at the east end of the line, have been installed to read the temperatures of the wheels and detect anything dragging. If anything is detected, the train is stopped and inspected immediately.
“I know there’s a lot of fear with crude trains after the incident in Canada,” Elston said. He noted that train was unattended, and began to roll on its own before derailing and erupting into flames.”
“Once the train has entered our track, it doesn’t stop,” Elston said. “The train will never be unattended if it has hazardous material in it.”
P&W is also “working closely with first responders in every community,” Elston said. “Our engineers are professionals. They live around here. They care about these communities, just like everyone in this room.”
Not only does the P&W meet all government standards, “we look to see how we can improve. We preemptively lowered speeds.”
The P&W’s parent company, Genessee & Wyoming, was the operator of a oil train that derailed and exploded in Alabama, with no injuries, in November, “those trains were traveling 40 miles per hour. Our trains are at a maximum of 25,” Elston said.
While the P&W representatives declined to name the exact amount of insurance they carried, they said they believed it was more than adequate.
In a telephone conversation with The Chief Tuesday, Faneuil said “we’re very comfortable with the level of insurance we carry, but we don’t disclose the exact amount.”
At last week’s Port of St. Helens meeting, commission president Robert Keyser told the P&W representatives and citizens in attendance that “this is just the beginning of the conversation.” The Port has asked for answers to several questions and has requested quarterly reports on railroad and oil train issues.
Hearing Set April 3 on Air Quality Permit
In another issue related to Global’s Port Westward operation, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has set a public hearing on Thursday, April 3, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School auditorium.
The hearing is about a new Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit for Global/CPBR’s oil transloading operations at Port Westward.
The original ethanol air quality permit was modified by the DEQ in June of 2012 to allow for the oil transloading operation because the DEQ determined it would result in only “insignificant” emissions.
However, last summer the DEQ ruled that Global/CPBR needed to apply for a separate permit for the transloading operation because of the increase in volume of the shipments, and plans for additional expansion.
Global has announced it is ready to invest $50 to $70 million in its Port Westward operations, and add over 30 additional family wage jobs. The company has made application for the separate DEQ permit.
DEQ is also claiming that Global exceeded the amount of oil transloaded at Port Westward during the period from December 2012 to November 2013, and could face a maximum fine of $25,000 per day for each day it operated out of compliance with its permit.
“We believe that we are operating in compliance with the permits issued by DEQ that are in place,” Faneuil told The Chief. “We will continue to engage in a productive dialogue with the agency and in the public hearing.”
He noted that “not withstanding our air permits, we are limited by the terms and conditions of the leasehold at Port Westward.”
After two public hearings last October and November, the Port of St. Helens raised the limit of trains allowed to enter the CPBR facility at Port Westward from 17 to 34 per month, but P&W officials stated that the railroad would not be able to handle more than 24 unit trains per month to Port Westward – in addition to the other traffic on the line – until approximately $6 million of improvements are done.
“We have an ongoing commitment to Columbia County and Port Westward,” Faneuil said. “We’ve been very active in the community, and we’re continuing to reach out to hear from the community at-large.”
More information about the DEQ permit and how to comment on it is available online at http://www.oregon.gov/deq/Pages?ColumbiaPac/ColumbiaPac.aspx.
Thrills, spills and lots of laughs are promised at a donkey basketball game this Thursday, March 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS) gym.
Sponsored by the Clatskanie Boosters, the donkey basketball game will feature teams of students, staff and community members who will ride the specially-trained donkeys while trying to score baskets.
Advance tickets are available at Sterling Bank at $8 for adults, $6 for students (7-12 grade), $4 for kids, aged kindergarten through sixth grade. Tickets at the gate are $1 more.
A potato bar will be held in the CMHS commons prior to the game beginning at 5:30 p.m. The meal is a fundraiser for Clatskanie High School girls softball.
by Adam J. Wehrley
A moratorium on the acceptance and issuance of business licenses that seek to dispense marijuana or provide a venue for marijuana consumption was unanimously passed by the Rainier city council Monday, March 3.
With legislative bills over medical marijuana dispensaries under discussion in Salem, the council’s resolution instituting the one-year moratorium cited health and safety concerns over such establishments and the need for councilors and staff to investigate the impact any changes in the laws might might have on the city.
Police and administrative personnel were directed by the resolution to study the impacts of the proposed changes on the state level.
Over a year ago a marijuana dispensary was proposed for Rainier, but the city adopted an ordinance against any business considered illegal under federal, state or municipal law. Since then there have been no dispensary proposals announced.
Street and Utility Progress
On the recommendation of city engineering firm Gibbs and Olson, the city approved a $21,910 bid by Pro-Vac of Puyallup to conduct closed-circuit television inspection of 7000 linear feet of sewer line along A Street. Contractors will also map and clean the lines.
The inspection and mapping are scheduled to provide the city with an accurate assessment of repairs and improvements needed to ensure the longterm functionality of the lines so that any necessary work can coincide with rail improvements planned in the near future.
In response to citizen concerns, Mayor Jerry Cole and Councilor Steve Massey recommended councilors familiarize themselves with the “geo-tech” report conducted on downtown Rainier many years ago. Several councilors and Rainier residents have called for a new study focused on the impact of increased rail traffic on the slopes near A Street.
City administrator Debra Dudley announced that bids were being sought for the long-awaited B Street parking and sidewalk improvement project which began planning in 1996.
The project is scheduled to start in July or August of this year.
Public works director Jim Dahlquist announced that he would be producing a scope of work for city street improvements prior to the next council meeting.
On Dahlquist’s recommendation the council approved a $23,800 bid for variable speed pumps for water intake. A grant covers 70 percent of the cost of the pumps.
Rainier School District Superintendent Michael Carter thanked the city for assistance in tracing and repairing a massive water leak at the district’s campus. The city provided labor and expertise Carter credits with saving the district thousands of dollars.
“It’s important that we have that good working relationship and mutual aide,” said Mayor Cole.
Dahlquist reported that 8400 feet of ditches and several culverts have been cleaned recently by city crews.
In accordance with the city budget, the public works department will be purchasing a 2012 GMC truck for $21,000.
Little League Sheds
On behalf of the Rainier Little League, Ryan Murphy ask for the council’s permission to expand a storage shed at Riverside Park and to build a temporary scorekeepers shelter to protect scorekeepers and records from the elements.
The council approved the request.
by Special Correspondent Ernest Carman
Kirill Gliadkovsky, a world-class Russian pianist, will be featured in a solo recital Saturday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Donavon Wooley Performing Arts Center at the Clatskanie Middle/High School. 471 SW BelAir Drive.
An international prize-winning concert pianist Kirill Gliadkovsky, who began performing publicly at the age of six, has performed exciting solo programs on three continents with repertory ranging from Bach to Gershwin that have received rave reviews from music critics in the USA and abroad.
Born in Moscow and a student at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory there, Gliadkovsky has toured extensively on three continents performing piano, organ and harpsichord recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in various cities in Russia, including Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi, Maliy and Rachmaninoff Halls and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic’s Glinka Hall. Gliadkovsky is also an orchestra and choral conductor.
He has combined touring in various states with teaching at the University of Southern California, Pepperdine University and Santa Monica College, where he was on the piano faculty. Then he joined Southern Utah University in August 2007 as head of the piano department.
Gliadkovsky has also given concerts in Italy, Great Britain, Poland, Mongolia, Canada, Japan and throughout the United States. In addition, he has been a featured artist in numerous live TV and radio shows on such broadcast outlets as, CBS, PBS, CBC, Russian State TV and Radio and many recordings on NPR. He has recorded six CDs for Alexei Records and for CMK Classics labels.
Tickets for this CAC grand finale are offered at $10/adult, $8/senior citizen or student and $6 for children five and under. They are available at Some Like It Hot! coffee and tanning, 401 East Columbia River Highway, in the Evergreen Shopping Center, or at the door with the CAC box-office in the foyer of the auditorium open a half hour before the show.
Promising to be the pièce de résistance celebration as the Clatskanie Art Commission (CAC) celebrates the close of its 25th Performing Arts series, Gliadkovsky will perform on the nine-foot Knabe grand piano that gave birth to the CAC back in 1988.
The CAC began, in part, through the efforts of a committee of eight to raise funds to purchase a concert grand piano for the people of Clatskanie. Through a grass roots, fundraising effort and an outpouring of community support, they were able to purchase the $10,000 grand piano.
Recognizing an opportunity to support this broad-based community interest in the arts, the City of Clatskanie, in 1988, helped establish the committee’s formation of the CAC. The commission, now an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity in their own right, is comprised of professional artists, teachers, mill workers, homemakers, musicians, business people and other community members who share a common interest in helping the CAC fulfill its mission of providing a variety of entertaining programs and events which enrich the lives of the people of the Lower Columbia River region through their thriving annual performing art series.
As the Oregon Arts Commission 2005 Arts Recognition Award Winner, the CAC was recognized for artistic achievements by the Oregon Arts Commission (OAC), supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal agency.
For more information call 503 728-3403 or visit the CAC online at www.clatskaniearts.org.