Jefferson Smith Says He Wants a Coal Ban

Jefferson Smith

Count Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) among the growing anti-coal chorus.

The mayoral candidate has been making noises since the May 15 primary about wading into the statewide debate on coal exports by passing a Portland anti-coal resolution similar to the one in Seattle. He's mentioned the issue in stump speeches, but without offering a firm stance.

Smith made his anti-coal position official this afternoon—in a comment on the website BlueOregon.

Commenting on an editorial about a coal train that derailed in Washington along the Columbia River, Smith briefly outlined a platform to fight coal in Oregon. 

"If surrounding areas say no, and Portland stays silent, it gets clear where the path of least resistance will be," Smith wrote, "and that means tons (literally) of coal dust moving by people and having potentially meaningful health impacts."

His plan starts with an anti-coal resolution modeled on Seattle's stance, calls for the city to support Gov. John Kitzhaber's efforts against coal terminals on the coast, and says the city should include a ban on coal in its West Hayden Island deal.

Smith tells WW he decided to make coal part of his campaign platform because he thinks it will be a major issue facing Oregon.

"It's coming up, and I don't see any particular reason to delay," he said. "No reason to keep it a secret."

WWeek 2015

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