Our Position on the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR) and How YOU Can Help
Friends of Clark County holds that Clark County should take the necessary steps to terminate the existing lease with the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR).
Taking this action is critical in order to hold PVJR accountable and needs to be immediate to ensure that the County avert any further damage to our forested wetlands, critical habitat, clean water, and established neighborhoods and communities.
As of now, FOCC cannot support the current lease with PVJR as the County does not seem to be able to determine how that lease requires PVJR to actually comply with all state and local laws (especially environmental laws) as was set forth in the lease and reiterated to Mr. Temple in an October 17, 2023 email from the County Manager. The County is failing to engage in any oversight role of the railroad activities, much less take any actual enforcement actions against Mr. Temple and PVJR. This includes failing to assert that PVJR’s actions are in violation of the lease agreement and failing to institute the dispute resolution portions of the agreement which could lead to a determination that PVJR is in material breach of that agreement. Furthermore, members of the County Council voted to include consideration of Heavy Industrial (IH) uses in the FRDU as part of the FRDU process. FOCC supports responsible uses of this existing railroad as long as those uses minimize the impacts on our environment and communities.
A majority of our elected officials refuse to hold PVJR accountable despite public outcry. As a community, we must stand strong in ensuring the County fulfills its obligation to protect our water, air, and the livability of Clark County for all of our citizens, all of us whom will be impacted by this plan for an industrial wasteland in one way or another, and especially those who reside next to the existing railroad track and/or the potential future overlays related to the FRDU.
Read more about the history and context that led us to this position statement: https://friendsofclarkcounty.org/railroadcontroversy/
YOU CAN HELP! TAKE ACTION – HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Get involved, especially if you are near the railroad. Write to all of the councilors. Contact info here: www.clark.wa.gov/councilors
- Go to Clark County Council meetings and give up to 3-minutes of testimony during OPEN PUBLIC COMMENT. County meeting information can be found at www.clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings Note: Public comment at the beginning of the meetings is for agenda items only, while open public comments are typically towards the end, after the separate business and before any public hearings.
- Stay up to date—a lot about the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad and its projected activities can be found on the County websites.
- We also provide updates and information on our social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram).
- Donate to Friends of Clark County. Donations help us be a watchdog in our community, fund litigation that protects residents and the environment, and helps ensure that we have resources for community engagement and advocacy.
Article submitted by Jackie Lane and Ann Foster – December 2023