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Don Orange Wins Vancouver Port Race In Referendum On Oil Terminal

By Molly Solomon (OPB)
Vancouver, Washington Nov. 8, 2017 5:11 a.m.
Port of Vancouver commissioner candidate Don Orange (left) at his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Port of Vancouver commissioner candidate Don Orange (left) at his election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Molly Solomon / OPB

Don Orange will be the next Port of Vancouver commissioner. Initial results Tuesday night show Orange won 64.58 percent, beating candidate Kris Greene.


Orange's victory is likely a death knell for a massive oil terminal that's been proposed at the port for years. 

The costly port election has received a lot of attention, mostly because of the unusually large contributions pouring into the race. Combined, the candidates raised around $1 million, a large bulk of it from outside companies and oil interests.

The torrent of money into the race prompted some local lawmakers to start crafting future legislation that would limit contributions for future port races.

Related: Vancouver Port Race Prompts Lawmakers To Seek Contribution Limits

Orange ran on an anti-oil terminal platform and announced in June that he would not accept any campaign dollars from oil companies. Nearly 90 percent of Greene's campaign was funded by Tesoro-Savage and Vancouver Energy, backers of the multi-million dollar oil terminal proposed at the Port of Vancouver.

"We're standing up for the Columbia River, we're standing up for Vancouver," Orange said Tuesday after hearing the initial results for the race. "We're standing up for our next generation."

Orange celebrated his victory with supporters and volunteers at an election night party at the Vancouver Firefighters Local 452 building in Fruit Valley. Former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard read the election results to a lively crowd that erupted in cheers at the news of Orange’s large lead.


“The amount of people that have been supporting Don is astronomical,” said current Vancouver port commissioner Eric LaBrant. “I’ve never seen anything like this in local politics.”

LaBrant also ran on an anti-terminal platform and secured a seat on the commission in 2015. He said Orange’s win sends the message that the community does not want the Vancouver Energy oil terminal built.

“To see such a huge and resounding margin is really compelling,” he added. “This election shows where the community wants to go and what kind of business the community wants to have there at the port.”

Though the port has signed a lease with Vancouver Energy to allow the terminal — which would move around 360,000 barrels of oil a day and be the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country — the port's board of commissioners does have the option to cancel the lease.

When asked Tuesday whether he’ll immediately seek to void the contract, Orange replied that he’ll keep his campaign promise to cancel it.

Greene did not immediately reply to a request for comment and has not yet conceded the race.

A spokesman for Vancouver Energy said the company would refrain from commenting on the election until all the votes had been counted. A second printout of results will be released on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Orange will succeed Vancouver Port Commissioner Brian Wolfe, who is retiring after more than a decade on the commission. Orange’s term will begin in January.

“I think everybody knows that I’ll do the right thing,” Orange said.