Dear Zenith: It’s Not Us, It’s You

Get out your pink and red construction paper—it’s time to make valentines: tell Portland City Council to “Break Up with Zenith!” 

Have you ever stayed in a relationship too long? Kept on keeping on, even when you knew it was over?  Well, it’s time to show our love for future Portlanders and, as pop songs through the ages tell us, Wash that crude right out of our hair; get off the [fossil] bus, Gus; go your own way; shake it out... 

Since 2018, Zenith Energy’s NW Portland oil terminal has been unloading crude oil from trains, storing it in tanks, then sending it through pipes onto ships bound for the Pacific. Zenith operates under permits issued when the property was owned and run as an asphalt plant many years ago. They have been relying on regulatory loopholes to continue operating and even increase their capacity, in spite of a 2016 Portland ordinance prohibiting the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and a 2015 City Council resolution opposing oil train traffic. 

At every turn, hundreds of concerned citizens have opposed Zenith, but haven’t yet been able to stop this dirty, dangerous, climate-killing operation. But this spring, some permit renewals are due and the City of Portland has an opportunity to weigh in and possibly stop Zenith.   

However, we have three new City Council members who may not have heard from the public about Zenith. Also, members who were persuaded to oppose Zenith in the past (Wheeler and Hardesty) need to know how much we still care.

Time to Break Up With Zenith
So let’s send all five Commissioners valentines! 
We want them to know we strongly oppose Zenith, and that we will “love” them—as long as they help us stop this climate-busting operation, which threatens the safety of our neighborhoods, future generations, and life in the lower Columbia River Basin. 

Break out your pink and red construction paper, stacks of old magazines, or those valentines hiding in your drawer. Write a short message of love, just be sure it mentions your opposition to oil trains and to Zenith.

Recruit your friends, your kids, your neighbors. Let’s pile the office desks at City Hall high with valentines!  

Pop your valentines in the mailbox between today and February 28, 2021 to:  

  • Mayor Ted Wheeler 1221 SW 4th Ave,  Room 340, Portland, OR 97204
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps, 1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 210, Portland, OR 97204
  • Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 230, Portland, OR 97204
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio 1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 220 Portland, OR 97204
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan 1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 240 Portland, OR 97204

Here are some ideas for messages—feel free to get creative and customize your own!

“The City of Roses is Green
Dirty pollution is brown
Time to break up with Zenith
Please don’t let us down.”

“Our future’s at stake 
Don’t break our hearts 
It’s time to tell Zenith
They must depart!”

“Make love not oil
Protect the air and the soil
We like the water to be blue
So, tell Zenith that we’re through!”

“City of Roses, home to us all
People and salmon, trees that grow tall
Our river’s at risk, oil trains run amok
Please take some swift action, we must deconstruct.”

“City Council: 
Love and kisses!
Kick out Zenith. 
No more near misses!”

Thank you for sharing your love to protect our region and future generations from harmful fossil fuels!

Don’t have time for a paper valentine?