Columbia Riverkeepers, March 23 2020
By Mario Mijares, Community Organizer
“Less than a month ago feels like a lifetime ago. On March 5, 2020, I joined students from the University of Portland’s Environmental Justice Immersion Group on a field trip to Mosier, OR, to learn about how a small town found the strength to turn an oil-by-rail catastrophe into activism.
I was deeply moved by the words of Mayor Arlene Burns. Here’s where her story began: On Friday June 3, 2016, a unit train hauling Bakken crude oil from North Dakota derailed less than 350 feet away from an elementary school. Rusty lag bolts that hold down train tracks eventually weakened causing 16 oil train cars to derail. Forty-two thousand gallons of oil spilled and ignited, causing explosions.”
And click here for a video produced of the immersion experience. Arlene is featured at 3:35