Disasters and Accidents

Disasters and Accidents

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Following Friday’s derailment in the Columbia Gorge, environmental groups are petitioning the Obama administration to ban rail transport of the most flammable kind of crude oil. And Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said on the floor of the U.S. Senate Tuesday that it was clear that Oregon got lucky -- this time.

Washington Department of Ecology

Friday’s oil train derailment and fire comes as Washington state prepares to put new oil shipment safety rules into effect. In fact, the derailment in the Columbia Gorge happened just as the first public hearing on those rules was wrapping up in Vancouver, Washington.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

As information about Friday’s oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon, trickled in, officials did not immediately offer any information on the condition of the city’s water system.

But according to a press release Sunday, investigators discovered Mosier’s “waste water treatment plant and [the city’s] sewer lines are now non-operational as a result of damage from the train derailment.”

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

As crews worked to clean up overturned oil tanker cars and answer questions about the cause of Friday’s train derailment in Mosier, Oregon, the Hood River community gathered to protest oil transport by rail.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

A press briefing midday Saturday included spokespeople from the Union Pacific Railroad Company, officials with various environmental agencies from both Oregon and Washington, the county sheriff and even Richard Franklin, a federal-level official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Columbia Riverkeeper

Black smoke billowed high into the sky above Interstate 84 Friday afternoon after 11 oil train cars derailed near Mosier, Oregon. At least one of the derailed cars spilled oil and caught fire.

The oil train fire in the Columbia Gorge is the first one since Oregon lawmakers approved funding for a hazardous materials incidents plan last year.

Lori Clifton

If you're at the Gorge Amphitheatre in central Washington and there's a large wildfire -- you might want to consider missing the next set of your favorite band. Just on Sunday, a 600-acre wildfire raged about three miles from the main stage where Alabama Shakes and The Cure were playing.

Jesse Schultz / WDFW

The big Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 happened more than five years ago, but debris from that disaster is still washing ashore on the Pacific Northwest coast. The chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration visited Long Beach, Washington, Friday to hear about the ongoing response. 

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Cape Kiwanda is an icon of the Oregon coast, but its jagged bluffs and towering dunes also tempt thrill-seekers to get too close to the edge.

Kevin Mooney / Background image by Ingrid Barrentine, U.S. Army

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

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