Protesters take to the streets of Mosier - KPTV - FOX 12

Protesters take to the streets of Mosier

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Protesters led by area clergy rallied in Mosier Wednesday as the last of the tanker cars that were derailed causing a fire Friday were taken from the scene of the incident. (KPTV) Protesters led by area clergy rallied in Mosier Wednesday as the last of the tanker cars that were derailed causing a fire Friday were taken from the scene of the incident. (KPTV)
MOSIER, OR (KPTV) -

Protesters took to the streets of Mosier Wednesday afternoon, calling for an end to all train traffic until all derailed oil tankers are removed from the tracks.  

Union Pacific noted that the removal process of each car began early Wednesday morning, and could take the rest of the week.

All of the empty, cleaned and decontaminated tanker cars are now on their way out of Mosier, some five days after part of the 96-car train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire.

A group of protesters led by clergy members from the Columbia River Gorge held a rally as those cars headed out of town.

“Railroads have too much power, and I think the Constitution gives them that, and this needs to be fixed,” protester Sally Newell said. “This is not the place for that cargo, it’s just the most dangerous place I can think of.”

The group also voiced concerns about oil trains in general. 

“We really were so lucky that it didn’t end up being a major explosion and the whole town was wiped off the map,” Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns added.

Mayor Burns said that she is still not convinced it’s safe for trains to pass through the town right now. 

“How can it be when an investigation isn’t even finished, or concluded, of the cause of the crash, that it’s business as usual, the trains move on?” said Burns. “They’re like, ‘Well it’s safe now.’ How do you know that if you don’t know what caused it? Now all of the evidence is gone and they’re like, ‘Well we took pictures,’ but it’s not the same.”

Union Pacific Spokesperson Justin Jacobs watched the protest all play out from a distance. He has been in town since day one of the derailment.

“We’re trying to be as fully sensitive as we can, while still trying to do our jobs,” Jacobs said. “This community went through a terrible incident and we’re here to make it right.”

Jacobs added that the railway has installed a new track where this all happened, inspected it and through unified command, they’ve deemed it safe and appropriate to resume operations. 

Still, people in town said that until the final cause of last Friday’s fiery crash is determined,  they’re not sure it will ever be safe.

“The country is listening. This is a national issue that landed in the laps of Mosier,” Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn said. “I know the railroad built the West, I get it, but should we really be running these giant trains through our little towns?”

Union Pacific representatives said that the company will be moving the derailed cars to a steel scrap yard in Portland. 

In the meantime, all trains that pass through the town of Mosier are required to travel at 10mph, according to Union Pacific. 

Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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