I urge everyone who’s interested in oil-by-rail shipments to read Chris Carvalho’s recent op-ed in the Oregonian in which he does the math on derailment probabilities using the industry’s own numbers. The upshot?

Under the current levels of oil transport, an event would happen about once every 30 months, in good agreement with the recent Mosier accident. It would shorten to once every 18 months in the gorge if the Vancouver oil terminal is approved. Somewhere along the entire route to North Dakota, every 45 days an oil release could be expected.

He has a fuller version of his analysis on his blog.

NBC’s data-driven analysis of Trump supporters is well worth a read.


I love these 32 bits of wise life advice for a kind, compassionate, peaceful existence.

Vox explains income inequality in the US, with lots of illustrations.

Get ready for Open Streets! Portland is hosting an international summit in August to talk about how to open streets up for people to walk, bike, dance, play, and socialize.

Who’s a Maker and who’s a Taker? An economic analyst says the financial sector is a Taker—taking 25% of corporate profits while creating just 4% of the jobs. The financial sector used to fund businesses that created things and solved problems, but now it only creates asset bubbles.

The 8-hour work day doesn’t work—recently I’ve been trying 52 minute Pomodoros with some success.

I want to live here: ReGen village will grow its own food, generate its own power, and re-use its waste for growing more food. It’s a 20 min train ride from Amsterdam.

  • Our work is made possible by the generosity of people like you!

    Thanks to Janet Wilson for supporting a sustainable Northwest.

  • 2 min video about how The Tragedy of the Commons was wrong—people are capable of jointly managing commons (and accompanying 20 page paper: Commoning as a Transformative Social Paradigm)


    Union Pacific is proposing construction of a new mainline track through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The track would be built near Mosier, OR, the same city where an oil train derailed earlier this month. This new mainline would allow more trains to pass through the Gorge, threatening tribal land, recreation sites, the Columbia River, and much more. There will be a public meeting on July 5th to discuss the Union Pacific mainline project. Can’t make the meeting? You can still participate by sending a comment to the Wasco Planning Commission.


    My favorite news program remains Democracy Now! because they cover news you do not see on corporate-controlled media. These include most of an hour covering the Bernie movement and discussions of what his supporters should do in the upcoming election and much of the show yesterday covering the Democratic (democratic?) revolt in the US House over that body’s failure to consider gun control legislation.

    Back to paper media, here is a Seattle Times editorial against oil-train terminals. We welcome the Times editorial board joining with the Thin Green Line.

    And to update our article on Pipeline Dreams from the Tar Sands through British Columbia, Canada’s National Energy Board conditionally approved expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline to a Vancouver, BC suburb. Prime Minister Trudeau appointed a three-person panel to consult with citizens across the pipeline route to see if “community buy-in” to the project can be obtained. This reminds me of an earlier Weekend Reading suggestion on the US Department of Energy’s public meetings on “Consent-Based” siting of atomic waste storage facilities. Are we about to see the “consent” concept extended to locations where pipelines and other energy projects need consent from communities, including First Nations, that can suffer the impacts of such projects? Stay tuned.


    Have Americans lost the art of neighborliness? And is an increasing isolation from neighbors having a bigger impact than we know? Marc Dunkelman (via Grist) thinks so:

    [Loss of relationships that are familiar, but not intimate] is a root cause of, among other things, political dysfunction in America. Issues that used to be hashed out over backyard fences are now hashed out in the halls of Congress — and not particularly well at that — by representatives whose constituents can’t agree on anything. In the case of climate change and other hot-button issues, he says, the less we talk with people who have different viewpoints, the more “battle-hardened” we all become.

    Is walkability a premium good? It may be in more ways than you might think. A new George Washington University / Smart Growth America report featured on City Lab reaffirmed what we knew (about health and education), but it also found some interesting social equity benefits of density:

    The national concern about social equity has been exacerbated by the very rent premiums highlighted above, referred to as gentrification. Counter-intuitively, measurement of moderate-income household (80 percent of AMI) spending on housing and transportation, as well as access to employment, shows that the most walkable urban metros are also the most socially equitable. The reason for this is that low cost transportation costs and better access to employment offset the higher costs of housing. This finding underscores for the need for continued, and aggressive, development of attainable housing solutions.

    Sightline friend and musical force behind the Northwest’s many fossil fuel fights, Dana Lyons (he’s the Cows With Guns guy), brings us a poignant song and stunning video celebrating Orca Awareness Month and reminding us how schemes to export dirty fuels through the Salish Sea could harm one of the region’s most powerful and central natural icons.


    John Abbotts is a former Sightline research consultant who occasionally submits material to Weekend Reading.