VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Voters overwhelmingly supported Port of Vancouver commissioner candidate Don Orange over Kris Greene in last night’s election, a big signal that they don’t want the nation’s largest oil by rail facility built in their downtown.
Of the 3 elected members members of the commission, now 2 are against the oil terminal being built in Vancouver.
For years, Vancouver has wrestled with a proposal to build an oil transfer terminal at the Port. Oil trains with 360,000 barrels of oil moving through the terminal daily brings up concerns about pollution and derailments like the one in Mosier in June 2016.
The Port has signed a lease for the oil terminal project, but Port commissioners regularly vote whether to keep that lease. Orange starts his term in January with a campaign promise to cancel the lease along with current commissioner Eric Labrant.
“I’m going to do everything that is legally possible to represent the will of the people on this and I think it’s pretty clear…” Orange told KOIN 6 News via phone on Wednesday.
Some people wonder whether not building it will cost the city jobs. The oil terminal would create hundreds of temporary construction jobs and 175 permanent jobs.
Greene received hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil interest groups and former Vancouver Major Royce Pollard, a Don Orange supporter, believes it was the weight of oil company money that sunk Greene’s campaign.
“The money was the issue. The amount of money that Big Oil put into Kris Greene’s campaign killed him,” Pollard said. “The citizens of this community spoke and they told Big Oil and they told government in the City of Vancouver, ‘you actually work for us and we’re going to get more involved now.'”