PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Controversial plans for a propane pipeline and terminal on the Columbia River received a major boost of support Monday. But despite heated debate from both sides, the on and off again project appears to be off.
“It’s time for this project to die and go away,” Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society of Portland told KOIN 6 News. “They’re trying to steamroll the community.”
The fight over the Pembina propane pipeline project in North Portland is as controversial as ever, with strong words coming from those both for and against it.
“It was a slap in the face now that they’ve been told they won’t get opportunity,” John Mohlis with the Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council said.
City Hall is now debating if plans for the pipeline project near Kelley Point Park will even get to a vote. On Monday, KOIN 6 News learned of a letter sent to city commissioners and Mayor Charlie Hales voicing support for the project. The letter was signed by everyone from hardware store employees to power companies and building trade unions.
“We’re hoping the mayor and commissioners will all recognize the importance of blue collar jobs and working people in this town, and give them a fair shot at meeting the standards,” Mohlis said.
But just last month, Mayor Hales pulled his support for the project — it never came before the city council for a vote. The project looked to be dead until Commissioner Nick Fish asked the city attorney if the company had a legal right to have their plans heard in City Hall.
The attorney answered, saying the city has to schedule a hearing, but no elected official is obligated to actually place it on the council agenda.
Now, those with environmental and safety concerns said they hope the propane pipeline project is dead for good.
“We think it’s time to stand down,” Sallinger said. “We think it’s time for Pembina to go away.”
Representatives for Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fish said they hadn’t seen the letter until KOIN 6 News showed it to them. Officials said there are still some internal conversations going on in City Hall, with more to come on the issue.