News and Updates
PRESS RELEASE: Energy developer abandons controversial Troutdale energy project
Jan. 26 - Today, Troutdale Energy Center, LLC formally abandoned its plans for the controversial Troutdale Energy Center, a 701-megawatt gas power plant that was proposed at a site at the western boundary of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
PRESS RELEASE: WA Attorney General's Office questions risk assessment of Vancouver oil terminal
Jan. 22 - The comments question whether the risk of train derailment may be higher than the current estimate and raises concerns that the state of first responder readiness to address potential oil spills and fires is not sufficiently understood.
PRESS RELEASE: Multnomah County passes unanimous historic resolution opposing oil trains, Tesoro Savage terminal
Jan. 21 - County commissioners stand with cities of Portland, Vancouver, and over 100,000 people who oppose the Tesoro Savage oil terminal on the Columbia River.
Hundreds weigh in on Vancouver oil terminal
Jan. 5, the Columbian - A chorus of hundreds sang familiar but very different refrains on the oil terminal proposed for the Port of Vancouver.
Lowballed risks, errors discovered in Vancouver oil train terminal analysis
Dec. 11, The Oregonian - Data shows that consultants evaluating a proposed Vancouver oil train terminal for a Washington state regulator vastly understated the worst-case scenario for a catastrophic oil spill.
Analysis forecasts derailment every other year if oil train terminal is built
Nov. 24, Bellingham Herald - According to a state agency analysis, a proposal to build the largest oil train terminal in the Pacific Northwest could result in a derailment every two years and an oil spill from a derailment once every 12.
PRESS RELEASE: Univ. of Washington study finds coal trains emit nearly twice the pollution as freight trains
Nov. 23 - The study's results confirm (that) coal dust and debris blowing off of open-topped coal cars is polluting parks, agricultural lands, and waterways like the Columbia River.
Portland City Council passes resolution to prevent more crude oil-carrying trains in Portland
Nov. 4, Portland Business Journal - The Portland City Council on Wednesday passed one of two resolutions on banning fossil fuel expansion in Portland while tabling the other until next week.
Withdrawing its county land-use appeal, Brickhaven B&B to close
Oct. 23, Gresham Outlook - Following months of appeals and litigation over land-use violations, Phyllis and Ed Thiemann have announced the closure of the Brickhaven Bed and Breakfast.
NEW POLL: Strong majority of Washington voters oppose coal export proposals
Oct. 15, Power Past Coal - A broad majority of Washington voters across the political spectrum opposes proposals to ship coal by rail for export overseas, according to new results from a telephone survey of 1,200 voters.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends appeals approval of controversial wind energy project
Sept. 9 - Friends and Save Our Scenic Area are challenging a recent decision by the Bonneville Power Administration to approve the most controversial wind energy project ever proposed in Washington State.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends' Fall Hikes & Outings offer something for everyone
Sept. 8 - This fall, Friends of the Columbia Gorge offers 33 distinct ways to experience and learn about this American natural treasure, and even take part in ongoing efforts to preserve it.
Settlement reveals details of Vancouver oil terminal deal
Aug. 7, OPB - A lease between the Port of Vancouver, Washington and companies looking to build the nation's largest oil-by-rail terminal has been released as the result of a legal settlement.
Klickitat County repeals White Salmon rezoning
July 16, the Columbian - The abrupt repeal of a controversial rezoning along the White Salmon River has put a years-long legal battle in limbo.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends scores major victory at Washington Supreme Court
June 11 - In a victory for Friends and Save Our Scenic Area, the Washington Supreme Court held that Skamania County is in violation of the Growth Management Act.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends, allies appeal federal oil train rules
May 14 - A coalition of conservation organizations and citizen groups are challenging new federal safety standards for oil trains.
PRESS RELEASE: New oil train rules fail to protect communities or the Columbia River Gorge
May 1 - On Friday, the U.S. DOT released new oil train rules that fail to protect our communities and special places like the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
Energy center emissions could cause fatalities, FAA models show
April 28, Gresham Outlook - Friends of the Columbia Gorge will enter evidence they say makes it clear plans to build the Troutdale Energy Center near the Troutdale Airport should be stopped.
PRESS RELEASE: Power plant proposal would create high risk of fatal crashes at the Troutdale, Oregon Airport
April 22 - A Federal Aviation Administration-approved modeling program shows that thermal plumes from the proposed Troutdale Energy Center (TEC) would create a 1 in 100 risk of severe turbulence for the light aircraft that predominately use the Troutdale Airport.
Pilots say plans for a natural gas-fired power plant include a fatal flaw
April 22, Willamette Week - A report by the Federal Aviation Administration says that a proposed power plant at the western boundary of the Gorge Scenic Area poses a serious safety risk to aircraft.
Klickitat County rezone plan reaches WA appeals court
March 30, the Columbian - Environmental groups Friends of the White Salmon River and Friends of the Columbia Gorge have said the proposal would lead to sprawl and threaten the sensitive watershed.
Oil terminal foes granted full voice in review
March 26, the Columbian - The state panel reviewing a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver will allow more than a dozen parties, including Friends, to take part in the upcoming adjudication process surrounding the controversial project.
PRESS RELEASE: As the Gorge springs to life, so does Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s spring-summer hike program
Feb. 28 - From March 15-July 18, Friends of the Columbia Gorge will host over 65 hikes, outings, and land stewardship events as it celebrates the organization’s 35th anniversary.
Funding brings Bridge of the Gods pedestrian bridge into range of possibility
Jan. 20 - Funds have been raised for a feasibility study regarding the addition of a pedestrian bridge on the Columbia River-spanning Bridge of the Gods.
Foe restates opposition to state money for dock project
Jan. 15, Portland Tribune - "If we pollute the Columbia River, we pollute our future," says 10-year-old Daeuthen Dahlquist of White Salmon, Wash., who was among those representing Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and the youngest to testify.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends, Power Past Coal stands with Lummi Nation opposing coal exports
Jan. 5, Power Past Coal - The Lummi Nation today sent a formal request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking that permits for the proposed Cherry Point coal export facility be denied in consideration of treaty rights.
Coal and oil transport: What's up for 2015
Dec. 17 - It's been a great year for Gorge protection. Let's keep it going.
Hiking the Gorge With Kids
July issue of MetroParent magazine - Friends staff member and parent Stan Hall writes about taking his young son hiking in the Gorge and recommends five Gorge hikes for kids.
WA Gov. Inslee issues oil train directive
June 12, the Columbian - Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies Thursday to tackle mounting public safety concerns and develop an oil spill response plan as train traffic continues to increase, particularly in Southwest Washington.
PRESS RELEASE: Port of Vancouver oil terminal would violate state and local laws
May 28 - Local residents, groups cite incomplete application and potential hazards; call for more study, greater public involvement
PRESS RELEASE: Northwest job creators urge Gov. Kitzhaber to oppose coal exports, reject Ambre Energy proposal
March 20, Power Past Coal - Business leaders and economic experts from Oregon and Washington today...called for a full economic analysis of proposals in the Northwest, citing the economic risks that the proposed terminals would have for local industry like agriculture, recreation, and fishing.
PRESS RELEASE: Broad scope for Longview coal terminal evaluation announced
February 12, Power Past Coal - Today, the Washington State Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County announced a broad scope of their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed coal export terminal in Longview in southwest Washington State.
PRESS RELEASE: “Coal Train Blues” Music Video Calls Attention to Threat of Coal Export Proposals
January 22 - Today, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, in coordination with the Power Past Coal coalition and the Portland-based Johnny Cash tribute band Counterfeit Cash, released an online music video called “Coal Train Blues.”
Rock smashes through Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls
The Oregonian, January 9 - The iconic Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls will remain closed indefinitely after a large rock crashed through the bridge deck and damaged the handrail, forest service officials said Thursday.
Port of Vancouver oil terminal plan draws 31,000 comments
The Columbian, December 18 - "People of Vancouver have a real choice here in what their future looks like and what direction they want to go in," said Michael Lang, conservation director with Friends of the Columbia Gorge.
PRESS RELEASE: Oregonians call on Gov. Kitzhaber to use state authority to deny coal export project planned in Oregon
Power Past Coal Coalition, October 3 - Conservation, public health, and faith-based groups say federal inaction now requires the Governor to get tough on coal exports plans on the Columbia River
PRESS RELEASE: New poll - Oregonians oppose coal exports through the Columbia Gorge
Portland, June 27, 2013 - In a new poll of 725 Oregon voters, a six-point statewide plurality initially opposes coal exports through the Columbia River Gorge, and opposition grows to a double-digit majority as voters hear more information on both sides of the issue.
PRESS RELEASE: BNSF Railways, coal shippers sued in federal court for water contamination violations
Seattle, June 5 - Today, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, and its partners filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and several coal companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
Kinder Morgan drops plans to build coal terminal at Port of St. Helens
May 8, the Oregonian - Terminal developer Kinder Morgan will not go forward with a proposal to export coal to Asia from the Port Westward industrial park on the Columbia River, a company spokesman said this morning.
PRESS RELEASE: Friends and partner groups file intent to sue notice over coal dust in waterways
Seattle, April 2 - The Sierra Club and its partners sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and several coal companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
Port's coal project grinds to a halt
April 1, Coos Bay World - A project aiming to ship U.S. coal to Asia through the Port of Coos Bay is dead, after an exclusive negotiating agreement between the port and a California terminal operator expired Sunday.
PRESS RELEASE: Skamania County Decision Leaves Thousands of Acres of Land Unzoned and Unprotected
September 20, Stevenson, WA - Conservation groups Save Our Scenic Area and Friends of the Columbia Gorge have filed suit challenging a Skamania County Commission decision to lift a development moratorium from thousands of acres of unzoned land in Skamania County.
Opposition to coal exports grows
July 25 - This month, a statement signed by 130 physicians was released opposing proposed coal export facilities. The statement cites serious health concerns in five major areas:
Friends advocates for enforcement of laws after Gorge clearcut
June 26, Daily Journal of Commerce - When a tree falls in the forest, it can make a lot of noise regardless of who is around to hear it, especially when zoning codes are called into question post harvest. That’s the story behind a 110-acre clear cut near the city of Mosier that is causing some rumblings among citizens who believe the land was logged illegally. But whether those complaints are accurate is open for debate and interpretations vary widely.
Illegal Logging Destroys Gorge Landscape
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and SDS Lumber Company have clearcut 110 acres of forest on steep slopes near the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The clearcut reaches from top of the ridge to within 200 feet of the trail, creating a tremendous scar on the landscape visible from four designated key viewing areas in the Gorge.
Anti-Coal Rally Draws Hundreds to Downtown Portland
May 7 - Prominent environmental lawyer and advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. addressed a rally today at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, urging people of the Northwest to fight coal exports. "Opening up Oregon and Washington to coal trafficking is insane," said Kennedy. "Coal is the dirtiest fuel on Earth and our nation is counting on the Pacific Northwest to do the right thing."
PRESS RELEASE: Appeal Challenges Washington Governor’s Approval of Controversial Wind Energy Project
April 5 - Yesterday Friends of the Columbia Gorge and Save Our Scenic Area filed a petition for judicial review in the Thurston County Superior Court, challenging Washington Governor Christine Gregoire’s approval of the Whistling Ridge Energy Project, the most controversial wind energy project ever proposed in Washington State.
Localite TV Interviews Friends' Executive Director Kevin Gorman
July 20, 2011 - Kevin speaks on his time at Friends and the history and successes of 25 years of the National Scenic Area Act.
Friends and Allies Secure PGE Boardman Closure, Pollution Controls, $2.5 Million Restoration Fund
July 19, 2011 - The groundbreaking agreement assures the end of coal-burning at the Boardman, OR plant by 2020, as well as major reductions in haze-causing pollutants before then.
Columbia Gorge Scenic Area Protection Marks 25th Anniversary
June 20, 2011, Portland Examiner - The Gorge might be dotted with McMansions, resorts, marinas, casinos and trailer parks if it were not for federal legislation enacted 25 years ago.
Grant's Getaways: Columbia River Gorge 25th Anniversary Video
May 5, 2011 - KGW's Grant McOmie pays tribute to 25 years of Gorge protection with this beautiful and entertaining video.