CAG General Meeting October 12, 2022


CAG Board Members

Michael Pouncil, Chair

Doug Larson

Sarah Taylor


Participants: 29


This meeting is recorded.


Portland Harbor CAG YouTube page. “Subscribe here” and at the bottom of the email. Now you have access to our monthly virtual meetings, forums, and presentations.  

Sarah Taylor: Land Acknowledgement (summary): The Portland Metro area rests on traditional Native sites. We thank the original caretakers of this land, acknowledge the systemic racism involved in the cleanup of the Willamette River. Tribes will heal only when we understand the harms done and we promise to continue to learn and to honor, respect and take care of this watershed, all that it offers to all living beings.


***News on the River*** 

In August-September a harmful algae bloom on the Willamette River had spread from Cathedral Park south to Willamette Cove near the SP&S Railroad Bridge (Train Bridge). That green, scummy sheen is deadly for children and pets. We have been here before in 2021(NEWS CLIP). It is important for Community to know how to detect and gage if and when our Willamette River/ Portland Harbor is safe to recreate and spend time enjoying. Here is a link to 33 min. video that will help you“Learn to Identify Cyanobacteria Blooms.”

    ***Upcoming Events***

Join us for “Rumble on the River Community Forum: What’s Up with Zenith Energy and the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub in Portland”

RSVP for Community Forum Webinar HERE

WHEN: Thursday October 13 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Zoom! RSVP and we will email you a link for the online community forum. Can’t make it? We’ve got you covered. RSVP and we’ll email you a recording after it airs. 
COST: Free! Please invite anyone you know who cares about clean air, safe communities, and environmental justice.
SPEAKERS: Nick Caleb, Climate and Energy Attorney with Breach Collective;

Micah Meskel, Activist Program Manager with Portland Audubon;

Laurie King, long-time community advocate;

Melanie Plaut, retired doctor and member of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility;

John Wasiutynski, Multnomah County Office of Sustainability Director;and will be moderated by Kate Murphy, Community Organizer with Columbia Riverkeeper.
350PDX, Braided River Campaign, Breach Collective, CedarAction, Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeeper, EcoFaith Recovery, Linnton Neighborhood Association, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Neighbors for Clean Air, Portland Audubon, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Portland Jobs with Justice, Portland Youth Climate Council, Portland Youth Climate Strike, Sunrise Movement-PDX, XR-PDX

Laura Knusdon: EPA Coffee Chat on October 28.  (email for information:

Michael Pouncil: Volunteer Day to help paint our new office space, will set up a way to participate soon.

Sarah Taylor: A gallery of artwork and information about the history of the Lower Willamette is in City Hall. This exhibit will move to Lloyd Center, then to Port of Portland.




Mike Kortenhof, manager, Oregon DEQ, responsible for the safe management of underground storage tanks and cleanup of petroleum contaminated property.

Discussion on how the CEI (Critical Energy Infrastructure) Hub is changing and what these changes might mean for our river:


Fuel Tank Seismic Stability Standards in the Portland Harbor.

Downtown Portland, a 6-mile zone previously wetlands and lakes is filled with dredge spoils and is vulnerable to liquefaction. 14 tank farms (+ two in Clatskanie and 1 in Eugene) 17 total

350 million gallons of all types of refined oil and crude oil. 3 pipelines, 537 tanks. Fewer than 2% of the tanks were built after 1993. This is 90% of Oregon’s oil. Most comes in from pipelines, rest is barged in.

Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Risk
The last big quake was in 1700. Another is coming, we don’t know when. Widespread infrastructure damage is expected, up to 5 minutes of intense ground shaking. Pipelines will fail. Rivers will not be navigable. First responders won’t be able to get around. The new requirements recognize the threats and that we need better protection.

Most tanks are very old and will not withstand any amount of ground shaking. Estimated 400 of the 600 tanks will fail, will fall into the river. Deaths will number in the hundreds in the immediate area.

Senate Bill 1567 (2022): requires 17 facilities with fuel storage to assess their seismic vulnerability and to improve their infrastructure to better withstand earthquakes. Deadline of June 2024 to conduct assessments and propose risk mitigation plans. We are convening an advisory committee with public comment and rule adoption, planned for mid 2023.  DEQ is hiring 4 staff and contracting for special tech assistance.

Sign up for updates and DEQ rulemaking website:



Q&A for Mike Kortenhof


Q: What’s in the “unknown” tanks?!

A: We don’t know. Probably motor fuel/petroleum products.


Q: Who do these tanks belong to?

A: Portland Harbor, Port of Portland Airport land, Chevron, Shell, Phillips 66, Kinder Morgan, + more.


Q: Unknown tanks aren’t being utilized. Can they be the first to be emptied and removed?

A: We don’t know what they hold. Seismic integrity assessment will look at capacity.


Q: Is tank corrosion known? How are you putting together requirements to get a true picture of what needs to be done?

A: That’s the work going forward. DEQ are not seismic experts but we have a budget to contract for this, to answer this question. We’ll rely on experts within the community and worldwide.


Q: Rail cars are being used as fuel storage, with long lines of tank cars parked for long periods of time. Will they be considered part of the formula? These are mini tanks on wheels.

A: I don’t think these were considered in the numbers. Good question.


Q: I realize that the involved industries need to do in-depth assessments, but why is the deadline for these reports scheduled so far out in the future, based on the unpredictability of the timing for seismic activity?

A: DEQ was responsible for the first year. We need at least a year just to get rules on the books. Facilities need a year to finish their plans with the rules in hand. We’re working on assessments now. This is considered to be a quick assessment.



Pam Neild, transportation Decarbonization Project Manager with the city of Portland Planning and Sustainability. Discussion on how the CEI Hub is changing and what these changes might mean for our river:


Removal fuel standards (RFS) Code Amendment.

City code will regulate the blending of fossil fuel with renewable fuel. A 5% minimum blend of fossil to 10% renewable fuel. This changes the composition of fuel over time with attention to climate emergency, air pollution, community health. The city council passed a climate emergency work plan to be implemented by 2030 and 2050 with pollution reduction projects. Diesel is the biggest air polluter in Portland. Low income and communities of color bear the brunt of this pollution. Diesel fuel is dirty, cleaner alternatives exist.


Biofuels: derived from plant or animal matter. Renewable diesel blends with diesel.

Biodiesel blends with diesel.

Ethanol blends with gasoline.

The proposal increases the percentage of renewable from 5% in 2023 to 99% by 2026.  Emergency equipment will be exempted.


Q&A for Pam Neild


Q: What is the range (or scale?) for the carbon-intensity standard?

A: The carbon intensity scale runs from 0-120. Avg CI in Oregon is 33. The average CI in Oregon is 33. The CI for diesel is 100.


Q: We’ve all read about ethanol produced in corn and soy regions and blended into gasoline. Where do renewal and biodiesel come from?

A: Feed stocks can come from various sources with low carbon: used cooking oil, fish oil, fewer food products.


Q: Is there enough used oil to supply Portland?

A: Yes.


Q: Where does Oregon stand in relation to California and Washington on diesel emission standards? Both have passed laws requiring lower emissions from vehicles sold and registered in those states. In Oregon, this isn’t law. Does your program address this?

A: Yes. We’d like for Oregon to align with that policy, that’s a question for DEQ. We’re not working on emissions from cars, unless they use diesel. Both bio and renewable diesel combust more cleanly with a lower particulate matter. Depends on the blend percentage.


Q: Without changing engine standards, you can lower emissions considerably?

A: Yes. Also results in lower maintenance fees for trucks.


Q: How will bio diesel get here? Train?

A: Probably the way it gets here now.


Q: The fuel tank bill doesn’t include bio diesel. If a company wants to build a new tank for bio diesel, are they allowed to?

A: Yes, with limited ability/capacity – I need to double check on that.


Q: Exports – based on earthquake standards, we don’t have a way yet to avoid using fuels. We don’t want to export fuels. Are we asking residents to take a risk for corporations who want to export through our harbor?

A: The export situation is the current state. We’re working with motor vehicle diesel emissions. This won’t solve all problems but will have significant upsides. Part of the bill directs the Oregon Dept of Energy to conduct a fuel availability study in the event of an earthquake.


Q: Renewable diesel comes with challenges. Should we pursue a real mass transit system and more electric vehicles? I’m uncomfortable with the scope of this plan.

A: Your concerns are valid, I share them. We identify electrification and mass transit and other goals as a broader work plan.

Project website:


Comment: The majority of us live in North Portland near the St Johns Bridge. We experience a lot of diesel particulate matter. We need better-fueled vehicles in our state. A lot of the polluting vehicles in California and Washington were sold to drivers in Oregon. We’ve been dealing with this for a long time. At one point we were told there was money to address this. It never happened. This is a real issue. We appreciate your work, but we need radical change.


Q: Government has a specific mission. We need a bigger picture. Things are going way too slow. Who can we go to in order to raise our voice?

A: It’s critical to work on all levels. Local, state, business, academia, residents to work collaboratively. Takes time. The diesel policy is nested in a larger strategy.


Q: Alternative ways to generate power will be a big need.

A: Laura Knudson from EPA:

EJ Collaborative Problem Solving Cooperative Agreements (should launch in November 2022 with information about new funding!):


Q: How do diesel exhaust emissions contribute to pollution in rivers?

A: Black carbon (a byproduct of burning fossil fuels). Black soot lands on our snow pack, which makes its way into rivers.


Jessica Terlikowski (Portland Bureau of Environment Services): link to information about the grant selection process, the review panel, and the application for people to complete for consideration to be on the panel.,by%20the%20contamination%20and%20cleanup.


Doug Larson

Description/introduction of the new PHCAG new office

Green Anchors, on the bank of the river, in St Johns, is about 20 acres with 80 tenants: artists and small businesses. They have donated a 12’ x 60’ trailer to PHCAG, rent-free. We’re upgrading this to office standards. Doug Larson has built a deck and stairs to enter to building, installed new flooring and he will reconfigure the interior space for public meetings and for conference use. We have air conditioning and heat and donated track lighting. We will be able to use the conference room area for gallery space. We’re soliciting volunteers to help paint the interior. We’re excited to be there. Frog Ferry will eventually base itself at Green Anchors. This space will be open to everyone.


Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224,

Portland Harbor CAG
Portland Harbor CAG YouTube 

Our mailing address is: 

Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group

8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344

Portland, OR  97203


Notes taken by Jane Terzis