That smell? So far, it's rat.

Pop quiz for Portlanders: Where is Clatskanie, Oregon? (It's pronounced "CLAT-skin-eye," I think.)


There ya go. Right on the mighty Columbia. Sixty-three miles up the road. Just around the corner from the old Trojan nuclear power plant (and current, eternal nuclear waste dump).

Here's another question: Have you heard about the oil refinery they're trying to put in up there, right on the river? And not just an oil refinery – a biofuel refinery, so that there will be used French-fry grease and God-knows-what-other "organic materials" going in as well as diesel going out. Fifty thousand barrels a day. Where it's now pretty much just green fields.

You can read about it here. They're not going to be allowed to use the railroad, apparently, and so all of that gunk will be next to you on the highways. Not to mention what will be going into the air. But don't worry, the state DEQ will be monitoring. Yeah, right.

United Airlines is bankrolling the deal. The operators are some George Bush types from Houston.

What could go wrong? Answers here.


  1. I cannot imagine the increase in traffic on US route 30. That part of the road is only 2 lanes and not exactly improved.

    1. He has a point about the road. It is really not a good option for heavy trucks as it is narrow and highly used. But like I said earlier, late in the night it is not bad at all and it is doable.

      Towns like Clatskanie unfortunately need to jump on something like this just to stay alive. If the paper mlll ever went bust, it would be a ghost town. Only so many jobs in that area to go around, and a lot of the people there already have to drive to Rainer or Longview just to get a semi-decent job. And we all now how iffy the economy is in this part of the country.

  2. The stink is going to be something. New Jersey Turnpike stylin', baby.

    1. I recall that in 1996 the flooding there was pretty severe as well.

  3. Very familiar with Clatskanie, as it was a daily stop on my route and sometimes a layover for me. Not a lot there, but by and large it is pretty well kept up considering. I think that if they do the hauling at night it won’t be an issue. Besides, just up the road is a massive pulp mill and trucks go in and out of there all the time.

    You would think that the locals might welcome something like this, but of course being Oregon there will always be the complainers. It’s not like the town has a whole lot going for it business wise beyond the railroad and I believe that the ferry from Cathlamet goes there also. I had to take that a few times when there were landslides on the WA side.

    I had a girlfriend years ago that grew up in Renton, and her parents actually honeymooned in Clatskanie. That must had been a different time, as I can’t imagine anyone doing that now.

  4. Many rail lines are along river canyons and flood plains being rather gradual to flat.

    Idk why there specifically? All the toxic tanks already along hwy 30 near linnton & dealing with port of Portland a no-go?

    Longshoreman & port of Portland issues & too steep hill / not enough land in Longview & Portland?

    Sounds huuuge & expensive, I wonder what about oregon is attractive…somewhat inland sheltered port snd some flat-ish land?

    They sluced a lot of hill sides in NW Portland /kings heights neighborhood & filled in lakes with the slurry there in that toxic mess waiting to get worse in the next earthquake already…

    There’s a big world wide diesel shortage and jet fuel is a bigger squeeze than trucking by far.

    But how would we get our cheap planned obsolescence crap fhat makes money for everyone in the oil & logistics chain to efficiently fill our dumps if we couldn’t fly it so fast and Amazon didn’t offer to wipe your butt for money up front, scrape your data & have some hapless guy in Hindu-Stan to answer your calls?

    I’d be in favor of some rail transport & *some* alt fuel facility?
    I was rather looking foreword to waste veggie oil being cheap to run the smog exempt diesel, but with sewer rates being what they are, solar biodigester & compressed natural gas smog exempt w/permanent sticker or plate on old car grandfathered in the way the EV and hybrid flat registration tax (I totally get it, it’s en lieu of gas tax but the tax should be on new tires/footprint based & I refuse to pay a non-refundable upfront registration fee while personally trying to drive less & burn less fuel (there are some 1999 Vin Honda Insight but they’re super rare & all 2000+ hybrids have to pay the registration tax for every MPG >45 iirc which at 60-70 in the Honda Insight is real for a fulkydelrecisfed 20ish yo car w/expensive toxic battery to update/deal with should you choose to keep it?) fsnd more skynet is going into every new car for higher cost of ownership with recurring cad registration fees?
    Somehow govt never shrinks…weird…

    Was funny seeing all the people in Beverly Hills get sore with all the container ships with their consumer junk from the Far East idling & stinking up the place with their unregulated gross bunker oil you have to heat to almost 300F to even burn starting from grosser sourced raw oil that’s the leftover after they extract every other imaginable thing out of raw oil… really stinking it up in the backlog for the whole supply chain near them…everyone cares about the environment…when & where it affects them!

    We used to pay people to sort the mail on the trains, the usps was a public bank up to 1969, all these small parcels could come in to the downtown usps & have been made locally, better designed to last or be many times use military grade or repurposable or recyclable…O wait…
    …not that rail doesn’t have its issues too of course…

    I sort of agree with Randall O’Toole on rail gimmicks or high speed, but It had/has some role…

    O wait warren buffet owns the BNSF, Bezos can pick up slack from the feds/competitors trying to kill USPS + lots of fuel needed to get stuff places quick with minimal human labor per item, Bill Gates is trying to stick a fork in the controlling share or recently privatized Canadian national rail it seems…

    All know is im seeing prices go up on obtaining waste grease just to try skate around in an old dinosaur tax & red tape free if these trends continue.

    Flat rail accessible land with inland sheltered port for coastal shipping, osu having a big biofuel lab with abunch of grad students near by, giant air and logistics higher refined diesel & kerosene shortage…hmmm

    For certain stuff the energy density, portability, low volatility & long term storage snd relative corrosion & chemical stability of kero, jet fuel & diesel-like fuels is critical. Even around Houston or superior, WI near the refineries where fuel is usually inexpensive, gasoline is relative to other parts of the USA but diesel is not these days…maybe some volume discounts or small tax differences but that’s about it…

  5. Not sure I wanna read that last comment because I don’t have an hour to spend! Anyway, I looked into this more and if the company is legit it would be a win-win for the town. That area is already zoned for something like this, and besides has anyone seen the smoke put out by the Port of Longview and the lumber mill up the road from Clatskanie?

    I serviced that mill for a couple of years, and from the road it doesn’t look like much. But it is a massive complex and it belches out lots of pollutants i’m sure. The town of Clatskanie is a city that has seen better days, and could use an influx of dollars from something like this. And no one is going to be stopping there on the way to the coast for “touristy” things, besides maybe getting gas or going to Safeway.

    If it was being planned on the opposite side of the river I could see why it would be opposed, as that area is ecologically more fragile and pristine. Also people would and do stop there to visit, as it is a beautiful area.

  6. You are correct in your pronunciation. My grandma was born here in 1895 or so and the fam used to go there to party.


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