|Mosier Fire Chief Jim Appleton points to where a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil derailed last Friday, prompting a fire and evacuations from the tiny Columbia River Gorge town about 70 miles east of Portland, on Monday, June 6, 2016, in Mosier, Ore. Union Pacific resumed train service on Sunday but said it would not allow tankers carrying oil on the tracks anytime soon. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS|
Anger as trains resume after Oregon derailment, fire
Local politicians and residents of Mosier, Oregon, are reacting with shock and anger Monday as Union Pacific runs its trains through this tiny town again
MOSIER, Ore. (AP) — Local politicians and residents reacted with shock and anger Monday as Union Pacific began running trains through this tiny Columbia River Gorge town just three days after a fiery derailment forced residents to evacuate and water and sewage systems to shut down.
"This is all about money. They're willing to risk us blowing up again for their money to keep coming in," said Loretta Scheler, who rents out a two-story building just a few hundred feet from the tracks. "It's just insane."
"The federal government, the railroad and oil companies need to protect us," said Paul Blackburn, mayor of Hood River, a city about 7 miles west of Mosier.
Hood River passed a resolution in 2014 opposing the transportation of crude oil through the Columbia River Gorge either by rail or by barge.
Union Pacific temporarily halting oil trains in Columbia River Gorge after fiery wreck
With damaged tank cars still lying near to the tracks in Mosier, the site of Friday's fiery oil train derailment, Union Pacific said Monday it would temporarily suspend moving oil trains through the Columbia River Gorge.
"We do not intend to run crude oil unit trains and will inform the community of when we intend to resume operations," said Justin Jacobs, a Union Pacific spokesman.
The company's announcement leaves open the possibility that crude oil will continue moving in what are called mixed-manifest trains – those that haul a few tank cars of oil interspersed with other commodities. A "unit train" of oil, the wording the railroad used in describing the shipments it was temporarily halting, carries only crude.Trains began moving anyway, just more than 48 hours after the wreck.
Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns said she was thrilled the governor and Oregon's federal leaders had listened to the city's plea. But she said city leaders believe it's irresponsible for Union Pacific to move any train next to damaged oil tank cars.
Some Mosier residents remain under a level two evacuation order, she said, meaning they need to be ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice. How can the area be safe for train traffic, she asked, if it's not for residents?
"We feel it's still unsafe for trains of any kind to come through the area when these oil bombs are sitting on our front steps," Burns said.
Burns said the damaged tank cars appear to be dripping oil. "A spark from the train could catch that on fire again," she said. "It still is way too soon to be taking trains through."
Our friends at 1267 Watch have put together an impressive list of the links covering the UP Derailment and explosion in Mosier.
1267 Watch Special - Columbia River Gorge derailment: