Ecology files administrative order against local railroad


The Washington Department of Ecology is applying pressure on Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR) after issuing an administrative order on March 25.

The order demanded that the railroad comply with the state’s Water Pollution Control Act and listed steps for it to do so.

The docket cited PVJR for unlawfully discharging pollution without a permit at its Chelatchie property and failing to finish its application for a construction stormwater general permit.

Multiple state and federal agencies began investigating the railroad last year after PVJR’s road construction disrupted a tributary to Chelatchie Creek that had cutthroat and steelhead trout and coho salmon, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Unnamed pollutants were detected in stormwater runoff from the northeast corner of PVJR’s property on Dec. 6, 2023, according to the administrative order.

Ecology ordered PVJR and owner Eric Temple to immediately cease all unpermitted site work and prevent further unauthorized discharges of water in the docket, which may require the construction of remediation and runoff-preventing measures, known as best management practices, such as gravel filters and sediment traps.

PVJR submitted a draft for a stormwater general permit but failed to complete it by the deadline on Jan. 21. According to Ecology, PVJR has still not completed an application for the permit.

Ecology’s letter ordered PVJR to submit a complete notice of intent by April 25, part of the company’s missing requirements to receive a stormwater construction permit.

PVJR also received an order to keep a log of all preventative measures taken to reduce stormwater runoff, site inspections and stormwater monitoring and have weekly site inspections by a state-certified inspector. The weekly report must be submitted to Ecology.

Ecology noted that failure to comply could result in the issuance of civil penalties or other actions to enforce the terms of the Administrative Order.

The docket provided information for PVJR to appeal the administrative order to the Pollution Control Hearings Board by April 25.

For more information about the investigation of PVJR’s work in Chelatchie, read The Reflector’s prior coverage at