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Mosier Train Derailment, Oil Spill Anniversary Shows Progress And Problems

June 2, 2017

Saturday is the one year anniversary of the catastrophic oil train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier.

While the fire might be out, the crash still hangs over the town.

After the crash, the city, the fire department and the school district created an intergovernmental agreement to negotiate with Union Pacific, the rail company responsible for the derailment.

Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns says the agreement is almost final.

“We’re really almost about to tie it up,” she said.

“We feel that Union Pacific has been responsive to sort of an Off-Piste style because it’s not a litigation. We’re just trying to tell them our story and who we are and what we would like them to do to make it right. And so far, they’ve been receptive,” said Burns.

Mayor Burns says the town hopes for some money, a patch of land and equipment upgrades for the fire department.

She's also negotiating access across the track so the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway between Mosier and Hood River can be linked together.

Looming over all negotiations is a proposal by Tesoro Savage to build a terminal in Vancouver, Washington that would bring up to five loaded oil trains through Mosier each day.

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee is poised to make a final decision on the proposal soon.


A train carrying crude oil derailed near the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon, in June 2016.

Emily Schwing