Portland Oregon: Climate Leaders

Riverkeeper and Allies Stand With Portland in Court to Defend Historic Fossil Fuel Policy

By Dan Serres, Conservation Director, Columbia Riverkeeper

LUBA parties

LUBA Parties


In 2016, when the Portland City Council unanimously passed a strong land use ordinance barring major new fossil fuel infrastructure in the City – projects like crude oil train terminals, coal ports, and LNG export facilities – we anticipated a fight from the fossil fuel industry. Not surprisingly, the fossil fuel industry is now pressing legal action to reverse Portland’s rules, hoping to allow new fossil fuel development despite overwhelming opposition from Portland’s residents and elected leaders. With expert legal representation from the Crag Law Center and a resolute set of partners, Riverkeeper is standing with the City of Portland to defend the City’s fossil fuel policy.

In July, a single member of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) issued a ruling that overturned the City’s policy. Undeterred by this setback, on August 2, 2017,  the City of Portland vowed to challenge LUBA’s ruling at the Oregon Court of Appeals. Setting the tone for the Council’s unanimous vote to challenge LUBA’s decision, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said, “I am ready and willing to fight back against the state interfering in our ability to protect our environment and to protect our residents and make what we think are the best decisions for our city.”

Supporting documents are available here:

We are standing with the City in this fight. Riverkeeper and our allies–Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Center for Sustainable Economy, and Portland Audubon Society–have intervened to aid in Portland’s defense of its crucial fossil fuel ordinance. We are represented by the Crag Law Center. With support from many community organizations, such as 350 PDX, who helped to gain passage for the fossil fuel ordinance, we are working to ensure that Portland’s neighborhoods, rivers, and climate are protected from the pollution, safety risks, and health threats associated with oil train terminals and other fossil fuel projects.

On October 13, 2017, attorneys from the City of Portland and the Crag Law Center will argue our case before the Oregon Court of Appeals. We are deeply grateful for the work of Crag Law Center’s Maura Fahey and Scott Hilgenberg who are representing Riverkeeper and our allies in defending a policy that enjoyed support from thousands of Portland residents and the entire Portland City Council.

  • WHAT: Oregon Court of Appeals will hear arguments about whether Portland’s Fossil Fuel Ordinance complies with Oregon and federal law. Riverkeeper, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Center for Sustainable Economy and Portland Audubon Society will be represented by Crag Law Center in supporting the City’s defense of its fossil fuel policy to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
  • WHEN: Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 at 9:00 am. 
  • WHO: Attorneys from the City of Portland and the Crag Law Center will argue our case before the Oregon Court of Appeals. Crag Law Center’s Maura Fahey and Scott Hilgenberg are representing Riverkeeper and our allies in defending a policy that enjoyed support from thousands of Portland residents and the entire Portland City Council.
  • Next Steps: The Court of Appeals is expected to rule in the next several months. We will update you when we get more information about the timing and outcome of the Court’s review.

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2 Responses to “Portland Oregon: Climate Leaders”

  1. Nina Diamante says:

    Bravo Portland. Every city in this country needs to allow only clean energy. Columbia River is so beautiful. Don’t let them ruin it. Nina

  2. Sheila Maseda-Gille says:

    Good for you Portland! Fight these dirty fossil fuel industries whenever they try to bully & push their way into our beautiful, clean communities.I am your neighbor to the North, but it is so disturbing every time I see the oil,fracking,coal,logging,or mining industries trying to ruin my state or yours. I stand by your decision to defend your nature.