Mark McLeod and Howard Shapiro with the Sierra Club and 350PDX protest the Portland Business Alliance's support for a proposed gas pipeline and terminal.

Mark McLeod and Howard Shapiro with the Sierra Club and 350PDX protest the Portland Business Alliance’s support for a proposed gas pipeline and terminal.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

More than a dozen local organizations and environmental groups say they’re pressuring the Portland Business Alliance to withdraw its support for a proposed gas terminal and pipeline in Southern Oregon.

Members from organizations that include Stop Fracked Gas/PDX and Columbia Riverkeeper stood outside the Oregon Convention Center Tuesday, May 1 where the Portland Business Alliance was holding its sold out annual meeting. More than 1,200 people were expected to attend.

Outside, protestors handed attendees small pieces of paper that asked: “What are you thinking?”

The protestors are referring to a February 19 letter Portland Business Alliance President and CEO Sandra McDonough sent to the secretary of the federal agency in charge of the project’s permitting process. In it, McDonough said the PBA supports the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near Coos Bay and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline that will connect that terminal to natural gas supplies in the mountain West.

 “As greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce, our top priority is to support economic development in the region and throughout the state of Oregon,” the letter read.

Environmental groups call it an environmentally degrading endorsement, arguing the 200-plus-mile pipeline would become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Oregon. They say the project would also dishonor native cultural and sacred sites and destroy jobs in salmon fishing, farming, forestry and tourism.

“This project will lock Oregon to [fracked gas] for decades,” said Bonnie McKinlay with Stop Fracked Gas/PDX. “So it’s very important we think carefully before we accept these projects.”

In response to the protest, PBA said the project has economic importance to Oregon’s southern coast and has the support of the Oregon Business Plan, a joint project of three business organizations.

“There is an ongoing proceeding before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission where all interested parties have the opportunity to express their views,” McDonough said.