Container co. enters small home market; everyone hates Portland’s Superfund cleanup plan.
Terminal woes. Yesterday, Union Pacific announced it would resume its oil trains through the Columbia Gorge. Following that announcement, the Washington Department of Natural Resources has asked the state energy panel to reject the Vancouver oil terminal. Since the Mosier oil spill earlier this month, the future of the oil terminal has been uncertain. Vancouver Energy and Tesoro told us they intend to move forward despite public opposition. The energy panel will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee after its Monday forum. Read more from The Oregonian.
Cleanup foes. It’s been just two weeks since the Environmental Protection Agency announced its cleanup plan for Portland’s Superfund site on the Willamette River. Environmentalists immediately contended that the plan did too little to clean the river’s sludge, but this reaction was just the first. Willamette Week reports the Port of Portland thinks the plan doesn’t target the most polluted spots and is too optimistic about the estimated cost. The Portland Harbor Community Coalition intends to speak out against the proposal as well at four different events this summer. The EPA’s comment window for feedback closes August 8.
Destination backyard. The Portland tiny home market will soon have a new competitor: the shipping container. Montana-based Montainer is launching in Portland with a demo installation event next week at Pioneer Square. The old shipping containers are renovated into homes, which the Portland Business Journal reports could be a solution to Portland’s housing crisis. The containers can be placed in backyards as Accessory Dwelling Units, which Montainer says could increase the size of the rental market.
Pot tax on ballot. Portland residents will vote on a 3% recreational marijuana tax come November. OPB reports the council hopes the estimated $3 million in annual revenue can be used to fund public safety, drug treatment, small business development and expunging marijuana-related convictions. Not all are happy with the tax, however. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer had asked the council to reconsider the tax, alleging the tax would place a burden on small business owners.
Grazing rights upheld. Grazing will continue along the Sprague and Sycan rivers thanks to a federal judge’s ruling Wednesday. Environmentalists argued grazing harmed a bull trout habitat, but the judge found the grazing plans complied with the environment protections in place. Read more from Herald and News.
Transit projects coming to Central Oregon. The region could receive a cut of $45 million in state funding for transportation projects. The ConnectOregon program provides grants to non-highway infrastructure projects, such as trails and airports. The Bend Bulletin reports three of the top 10 applications are from Redmond, Bend and Prineville.
Pay up, Trump. The city of Eugene is sending presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a bill. Trump held a campaign rally in the city last month which The Oregonian reports cost police nearly $100,000. Campaigns are not obligated to reimburse cities for security costs, and often don’t, but Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns says the money would go into the city’s general fund to offset the security costs.
Demolition and asbestos. The Department of Environmental Quality has ramped up its penalties for asbestos violations. So far, 14 businesses have been penalized. Read more from Research Editor Kim Moore.
Immigration on hold. President Barack Obama’s plan to shield immigrants from deportation resulted in a deadlocked vote from the Supreme Court. The tie vote means the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that put the plan on hold is still in place. Obama announced in 2014 he was expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and creating a new protection program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. The two programs would have shielded more than 5 million immigrants from deportation. Obama said the decision is now in the hands of the voters. NPR has more.
Brexit today. The referendum vote deciding if Britain will stay in the European Union is ongoing today. If Britain leaves, it could impact the financial market in a way not seen since 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed. Reuters has a live stream of today’s event.