Business | Economy | Energy | Local

Portland Council Votes To Oppose Coal Trains

OPB | Sept. 19, 2012 5:10 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 20, 2012 3:28 a.m. | Portland

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Opponents to coal exports outside Portland City Hall.

Opponents to coal exports outside Portland City Hall.

April Baer / OPB

Portland City Council has voted to join other regional cities that oppose coal-export trains rolling through the region.

A hearing before the vote was well attended by a core group of Portland and Columbia Gorge residents who’ve been active in their opposition to coal-export expansions.

But construction workers with hard hats and orange vests were also perched in the gallery, to remind council of the business and labor groups that want to see more coal traffic.

Bonnie Meltzer lives five blocks from a major rail corridor in North Portland and worries about coal dust drifting into her yard.

“I grow 50 percent of my own food,” she said. “That’s my food supply! I’m also very interested in jobs for other people.”

While many supporters of coal exports called this an economic issue, coal opponents like Meltzer questioned whether coal shipments would impair quality of life, and put a different kind of damper on the regional economy.

Construction workers with hard hats and orange vests perched in the gallery at City Hall to remind council of the business and labor groups that want to see more coal traffic.

Construction workers with hard hats and orange vests perched in the gallery at City Hall to remind council of the business and labor groups that want to see more coal traffic.

April Baer / OPB

Two of the five commissioners were absent, but a quorum of three, including Mayor Sam Adams, voted to pass the resolution.

Portland has now joined dozens of other local governments calling for an extensive study of the effects of coal shipments in the region.

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