Letters to the Editor for March 22, 2016

Vancouver oil terminal threatens the Gorge

The State of Washington is looking at allowing 28 dangerous crude oil trains per week to travel through the Columbia Gorge. This means through small towns like ours: White Salmon, Stevenson and Washougal, and on through larger cities like Vancouver. At 15 million gallons of oil per day, the Tesoro-Savage proposal would be the largest oil-by-rail terminal in North America. This is the most dangerous project our beloved scenic Gorge has ever faced.

The alarming safety record of oil trains means an explosive train derailment is a question of when, not if. Since 2013, over a dozen such accidents have cost lives, spurred multiple evacuations and saddled communities with billions of dollars in property damage and environmental cleanup costs. Emergency responders up and down the river are speaking up, saying we are underequipped and understaffed to deal with such an emergency.

The risk of fire and explosion could happen in any of our cities, all of which have railroad tracks running close to or through the center of town. As you know, the tracks also run right next to the Columbia River and/or along Highway 14. An oil train spill could close the Highway, shut down river traffic, destroy recreation like fishing and sailing, and decimate the salmon and fish runs for decades.

Even the everyday operation of this project would result in significant and continuous environmental and public health degradation, through a daily parade of rail and river traffic, and harmful air and water emissions.

Until August, the Port of Vancouver could vote to end its contract with the terminal developers. Both the cities of Portland and Vancouver have taken a stand against this project. We in the Gorge need to do the same. Please contact the Port of Vancouver and ask them to end the contract. Now is the time to take a stand, the risks are simply unacceptable. Call to protect our community from an oil spill or explosion; do it for yourself and for your family. If the Port of Vancouver fails to terminate this project, it goes to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Amy Weissfeld, Councilor, City of Stevenson

Requesting information about Washington

Greetings! My name is Anthony G. and I am a fifth-grade student at Salida Elementary School in Salida, California. We live in the central valley located east of San Francisco.

This year we are to each complete a state report. I picked Washington!

I am asking any and all information from and about your great state of Washington to be sent to me. If you would please send me any postcards, articles, maps, pictures, pins, pencils, posters, pamphlets or any other special items from Washington for my project.

Anthony G., Salida Elementary School, c/0 Mr. Oakes fifth grade, 4519 Finney Road, Salida, CA 95368

Community turns out for the WHS basketball team

Once again I am so happy to say I live in Washougal.

On March 5 the Washougal High School girls played their first game at the state basketball tournament in over 30 years. It was so great to be in attendance and see our community in action.

The girls played their hearts out, the pep band sounded great, cheerleaders as far as the eye could see and the stands were full. Full of not just parents, for an 8 a.m. game in Yakima, but extended families, teachers, classmates, former players, community members with future Panthers in tow, and community members who no longer have kids in the schools at all.

As I looked around the Sun Dome I was reminded just why my husband and I choose to teach, live and raise our family in Washougal.

Gail Anderson, Washougal