Jazzy Winston is a Visual Designer at Fat Pencil Studio
Bakken crude oil is being extracted in record quantities, and without a pipeline to get the oil to the coast, it's being shipped in long trains of 100+ tanker cars. In many cases, these trains travel through populated areas that are not well prepared to respond to the hazardous chemicals that are released in the event of an oil spill.
Two years ago, an oil train derailed in Mosier, Oregon triggering a large fire, and a mass evacuation. [Oregonian Article and photo gallery] As luck would have it, the derailment occurred at the west end of town and weather conditions (low temperature & winds) reduced the impacts of what could have been a catastrophic event for Mosier's 440 residents.
A bill in Oregon's legislature appears poised to create funding for a statewide disaster response planning effort. However, these efforts have historically been focused on oil spilling in waterways. What about the impacts caused by fire and toxic chemicals?
We worked with staff from the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and the Center for Sustainable Economy, to create a simulated photo of an oil train derailment on tracks that run through the St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. This is one of many areas of the country that have dense population close to rail lines that carry Bakken crude oil-- population that would need to be evacuated in the event of a spill. Is your neighborhood in a danger zone? [Oil train blast zone mapping tool]