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Portland takes the lead on prohibiting bulk fossil fuel terminals

City Council adopts amendments to tighten restrictions on expansion of storage tanks

On Wednesday, November 16, 2016, City Council held a second public hearing on the Recommended Draft Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments. The proposal intends to implement new policy direction to prohibit the development of new bulk fossil fuel terminals and restrict the expansion of existing fossil fuel terminals through changes to the Zoning Code. 

As amended at the November 16 City Council meeting, the Zoning Code changes will:

  • 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, but may not expand. 
  • Continue to allow new tanks for storage of biofuels.

Read the As Adopted Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments.

Next steps

City Council will hold a second reading and vote to adopt the new regulations on December 8th, 2016. Changes to the Zoning Code will become effective on January 8, 2017 – 30 days after City Council adoption.


In November 2015, Portland City Council adopted Resolution 37168 establishing its opposition to expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. In June 2016, City Council adopted the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which included Policy 6.48 to limit fossil fuel distribution and storage facilities to those needed to serve the regional market. The Fossil Fuel Terminal Project was driven by a City Council desire to protect neighborhood safety and quality of life and to reduce carbon emissions to carry out the Climate Action Plan. The Recommended Draft Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments will implement the policy direction in the resolution by restricting new development of bulk fossil fuel terminals.

For more information, visit the Fossil Fuel Terminal Project website.