Recently-dismissed public official Catherine Mater may be the most interesting person in Oregon right now. After the Governor fired her from her position as chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, she’s dialed up her criticism of the agency’s use of public money to facilitate coal exports writing, “The real issue surrounding the story is not coal, it’s fraud: the submittal of fraudulent information to a public entity for the purpose of securing public funds.” Lots more here and here.

Oil company Tesoro found itself in even more trouble this week when its union workers went on strike at a number of major refineries around the US. According to this report at Seeking Alpha, Tesoro is actually the top target for workers, owing not just to the company’s dismal safety record but also to its bare-knuckled negotiating tactics.

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    Thanks to Karen Kiehlmeier for supporting a sustainable Northwest.

  • You know how to tell when you’re winning?

    When your opponent—in this case Tesoro and its plans for the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal in the Northwest—says that “retreat is not an option.” You can translate that to: we think we might have to retreat.  The company now acknowledges that the site it covets at Vancouver, Washington is unique; if it can’t build there it won’t be able to find another suitable and economical location to ship massive quantities of crude to Pacific markets. It’s a near-perfect illustration of why the thin green line matters.

    SerenaOriginal illustration by Nina Montenegro of

    I recently treated myself to a paper subscription to Orion magazine and am already sure I’ll be renewing for years to come. I was delighted to see in it, too, that Nina Montenegro, the Portland-area artist who generously drew up our weekend reading illustrations (both the rain and sun versions we now swap out seasonally) had a piece featured near the front. If you don’t get the mag, you can see her latest work here, and read more about a past project of hers the magazine wrote on last year.