Letter to the Editor: County should terminate lease with railroad



Clark County should take the necessary steps to terminate the existing lease with the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad, operated by Eric Temple. Taking this action is critical in order to hold PVJR accountable and needs to be immediate to ensure that the County averts any further damage to our forest, wetlands, critical habitat, clean water and established neighborhoods and communities. 

As of now, Friends of Clark County cannot support the current lease with PVJR, as the County does not seem to be able to determine how that lease requires PVJR to actually comply with all state and local laws, especially environmental laws, as set forth in the lease and told to Mr. Temple in an Oct. 17 email from the county manager. The County is failing to engage in any oversight role of the railroad activities, much less take any actual enforcement actions against Mr. Temple and the PVJR, including failing to assert that PVJR’s actions are in violation of the lease agreement and failing to institute the dispute resolution portions of that agreement that could lead to a determination that PVJR is in material breach of that agreement. Further, members of the County Council voted to include consideration of heavy industrial uses in the FRDU as part of the FRDU process. Friends of Clark County supports responsible uses of this existing railroad as long as those uses minimize the impacts on the environment, the residents and the communities.

A majority of our elected officials refuse to push back on holding PVJR accountable despite public outcry from constituents and proof of environmental damage, such as destruction of fish habitat. As a community, we must stand strong together in ensuring the County fulfills its obligation to protect our water, air and the livability of Clark County for all of our citizens; all of us who will be impacted by this plan for an industrial wasteland in one way or another; and especially those who reside next to the existing railroad track and/or the potential future  overlays related to the FRDU.

Ann Foster

Friends of Clark County

Battle Ground