Legal repercussions possible if Pembina does not get hearing

Portland city attorney says the City Council doesn’t absolutely have to give the Canadian company a hearing, but there could be consequences if it doesn’t.

Share this article!


Portland city attorney Tracy Reeves wrote in a memo that the City Council doesn’t absolutely have to give Pembina Pipeline Corp a hearing. But if the council decides not to, there could be consequences.

Nick Fish sought legal advice shortly after Mayor Charlie Hales quit supporting the project.

“In this instance, after the report and recommendation was forwarded by the PSC, a heaing was scheduled but the Commissioner-in-Charge (the Mayor) elected not to the place the matter on the Council Agenda. We are not aware of any previous situation where the Commissioner-in-Charge elected not to place a report and recommendation of the PSC on the Council Agenda, nor are we aware of any previous City interpretation of Title 33 on this question,” the memo says.

The memo also says the Port of Portland could seek a writ of mandamus in court to compel the hearing, and that it is not possible to predict how the court would rule.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

The key language in the memo suggests there is no “mandatory obligation to hold a hearing.”

Yet on that note, Reeve hinted that the city could be in trouble: If Pembina or the Port of Portland challenged the issue, “it is possible that a court might conclude that there is a mandatory obligation to do so.” So, will Fish, or the City Council, push to hold a hearing?

“The commissioner will have more to share after he discusses it with the mayor,” Sonia Schmanski, Fish’s chief of staff, said Thursday.


As Oregonian reporter Brad Schmidt wrote: “The fate of Pembina — as it has for months — still remains a political question.”