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Planning and Sustainability

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Phone: 503-823-7700

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1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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About the Fossil Fuel Terminal Project

Project Overview

The Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments project would begin to implement new policy direction for fossil fuel distribution and storage facilities through changes to the Zoning Code. This proposal would restrict the development and expansion of bulk fossil fuel terminals. 

Why is this important?

  • Fossil fuel distribution policy – New policy directions adopted by City Council in November 2015 and in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan would limit fossil fuel distribution and storage facilities to those serving the regional market. City Council adopted these policies after holding public hearings and hearing testimony from hundreds of Portlanders.
  • Climate action goals – Fossil fuels are major contributors to climate change and pollution. The rapid development of fossil fuel resources in the Western United States and Canada since 2009 has prompted many proposals for new export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. But the City’s Climate Action Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with fossil fuels being the largest source of emissions.
  • Public safety and environmental protection – Several recent accidents involving fossil fuel distribution across the nation highlight public safety risks in cities and environmental risks along rivers. Most of Portland’s industrial areas have moderate to high liquefaction susceptibility in a major earthquake.
  • Oregon’s industrial center – Portland is Oregon’s largest, most diverse distribution hub, and existing Portland petroleum terminals serve more than 90 percent of the statewide market. Proposed code changes would restrict the expansion of these facilities in Portland.

Proposed zoning amendments would...

  • Identify “Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals” as a regulated land use, characterized by (a) marine, railroad, or pipeline transport access and (b) either storage capacity exceeding 2 million gallons or transload facilities (such as rail-to-ship loading).
  • Prohibit new Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals in all base zones.
  • Classify existing Bulk Fossil Fuel Terminals in industrial and general employment zones as “limited uses” that can continue to operate.  Expansion of fossil fuel storage at these existing terminals would be limited to improvements that (a) include “seismic upgrades” which replace existing tanks, (b) add no more than 10 percent of the capacity of replaced tanks, and (c) result in no more than 10 percent cumulative expansion of the total terminal capacity on the effective date of these code changes.

Project schedule and public engagement

  • Discussion Draft, June 2016 – Stakeholder focus groups, public outreach, interagency review
  • Proposed Draft, August 2016 – Public hearing at the Planning and Sustainability Commission
  • Code adoption, end of 2016 – Public hearing at City Council

Portland fuel terminals map