Beau Blixseth’s Tire Pile Along the Willamette River Is Legal

The DEQ inspection came after a Portland resident told WW he went on a run past the terminal in July and encountered dust and the stench of rubber.

Piling up tons of shredded tires along the Willamette River where they can be loaded onto a cargo ship is allowed, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Inspectors showed up unannounced at the old Louis Dreyfus grain terminal just north of the Steel Bridge on Aug. 4 but found no violations, DEQ spokeswoman Lauren Wirtis says.

“They observed two piles of tire-shred product,” Wirtis wrote in an email to WW. “No tire shreds were visible outside of the two piles. DEQ inspectors did not observe any visible dust or odor during their visit.”

The DEQ inspection came after a Portland resident told WW he went on a run past the terminal in July and encountered dust and the stench of rubber (“Rubber Room,” WW, July 27). One thing had changed in the interim: A ship taking on tire shreds had left two weeks earlier.

Willamette Riverkeeper Travis Williams says he wonders if the DEQ inspectors looked at stormwater containment. “That would be a potential water quality impact,” Williams says.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, which regulates stormwater at the site, says the terminal doesn’t need a permit because it’s not a manufacturer. The terminal is owned by Beau Blixseth, son of Oregon timber speculator Tim Blixseth, and Chandos Mahon, a shredded-tire magnate.