Oregon train derailment

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

Ecology is responding to a train derailment in Mosier, Oregon. Ecology responders are en route with equipment and expectation that oil will enter the Columbia River and possibly impact Washington resources. Confirmed informatin includes: up to eight rail cars have derailed with some on fire close to the Town of Mosier, Oregon; I-84 is closed; one elementary school has been evacuated; and wildfire crews have been dispatched.

Summary information

Date of incident:  June 3, 2016

Mosier, OR

Type of incident: Bakken crude oil/unknown
Cause of incident: Track failure
Responsible party: Union Pacific

Status updates

June 14, 2016

While the oil and train cars have been removed, worked continues at the site in Mosier, Oregon to clean up the area.

Currently crews are testing and sampling the earth and groundwater potentially impacted by the oil train derailment.

A group made up of NOAA, Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ), tribes, and cities is working together to ensure appropriate surface water monitoring.

The nearby park reopened but city and state officials will continue to work on a restoration plan for the fire damaged area, construction and excavation area.

Future questions regarding the status of the site should be directed to DEQ Public information at 541-633-2008.

June 10, 2016

Crews in Mosier  transported the last of the derailed cars to a steel recycler in Portland, transitioning the incident from emergency operations to a recovery phase.

Union Pacific and its contractors will continue to assess and remove any contaminated soil and replace it with clean-fill material. Crews will also repair all damage to the Mosier wastewater treatment plant.

The remaining cleanup and environmental monitoring work will be overseen by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and other local, state and federal partners.

June 8, 2016

All of the oil has been removed from the rail cars and transported to The Dalles.

The remaining rail cars are being cleaned and decontaminated, and are being trucked to Portland for recycling.

Once all the rail cars have been removed, crews will begin removing contaminated soil. 

June 7, 2016

Overnight crews recovered a significant amount of oil from derailed train cars and could have all of the oil transloaded offsite by the end of today.

Once all of the oil is removed from the site crews will begin cleaning and removing the damaged rail cars.

The oil is being transferred to The Dalles on special tanker trucks and staged for transport by rail to Tacoma, Washington, its original destination.

Water-sample tests showed that the water is safe to drink. Monday, June 6, the city lifted the boil water advisory for all residents except for two homes on Rock Creek Road.

Union Pacific has identified a preliminary cause of the crash, stating a bolt that fastens the rail to the railroad ties may have been at fault. The final determination of the cause has not been made.

Booms remain in place for precautionary measures but no new signs of oil sheen have been seen  or reported on the river or other waterways. Environmental specialists believe the source of the sheen has been controlled.

Crews continue to carefully monitor air and water quality around the site.

A temporary bypass system, which allowed the city to restore sewer service to local customers, remains in place. The city’s wastewater is being collected and trucked to Hood River for disposal.

Federal, state, tribal, and local authorities remain at the command center near the scene to coordinate response until the cleanup is complete.

June 6, 2016

Much work was completed Sunday and after setting up a bypass for the waste management system, evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes.

Sampling is being conducted on the drinking water and residents are being asked to boil water until the sampling results are complete.

Air monitoring continues to be conducted 24/7 and  is currently in the healthy range.

Status of rail cars

All oil has been removed from the damaged rail cars. Oil from the cars is being vacuumed out onto special tanker trucks and being transferred to The Dalles before going to is final destination in Tacoma.

Thirteen rail cars remain on site, two have been fully pumped, on partially, the remaining 10 will be pumped as quickly as possible.

Additionally, the damaged rail was repaired.

Status of environmental damage

An unrecoverable sheen was observed in the water Sunday (no new spills) and all protective boom will remain in place.

Contaminated soil has been removed and today begins planning for the long term soil remediation. Ten - 15 acres of wildland burned and was contained quickly within the first 24 hours after the derailment.

Response crews made significant progress on environmental cleanup and oil removal from the train cars that derailed in Mosier.

Interstate 84 and the Mosier exit 69 have been re-opened.

The 96-car train was carrying Bakken crude oil and 16 cars derailed on Friday, June 3. Officials estimate that 42,000 gallons of crude escaped from four rail cars.

Recovery of oil includes 10,000 gallons from the wastewater system, and the remaining 32,000 gallons were either burned off and vaporized, captured by booms in the Columbia River, or absorbed by soil, with an undetermined amount remaining in wastewater lines.

Thirteen cars remain at the incident site, two have been fully pumped, and the remaining 11 are in the process of having oil transferred to tanker trucks and transported to The Dalles. The oil will be staged in The Dalles until resuming its trip to Tacoma, Washington.

Most essential services have been restored to Mosier. A short-term fix has allowed operations to continue on the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which is now operating and allowed the evacuation to be lifted.

The City of Mosier continues to ask residents to conserve water. As a precaution, the boil water order remains in effect. Bottled water is available to anyone who needs it at the Union Pacific Claims Center across from the Mosier Market.

Media and citizen inquiries can be directed to MosierMP70@gmail.com

June 5, 2016

Overnight crews were able to make good progress and this morning 13 cars remain.

The priority today is focusing on the community and returning residents to their normal daily lives. The waste-water system was damaged in the derailment and residents have not been able to put anything down the drain.

Crews are working to restore the system and remove all oil from the site so those evacuated from their homes can return.

June 4, 2016

Incident management

Using guidelines from the Northwest Area Contingency plan, a unified command post has been established at the site of the derailment and is governing this cross border response. Unified command is part of the Incident Command System (ICS), a national response system for multi-agency responses and includes federal and state coordination.

Agencies involved:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Oregon Office of Emergency Management
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • Washington Department of Ecology
  • US Coast Guard
  • Yakama Nation
  • Mosier Fire Department
  • Other local agencies

Status of rail cars

A total of 16 cars were involved in the derailment on Union Pacific lines near Mosier, Oregon. Four cars were involved in a fire and were breached to some extent.

The fire from the burning cars was extinguished at approximately 2 a.m. on June 4 and the site continues to be cooled so that response crews can begin removing the oil from the train cars.

Sheen on Columbia River

An oil sheen was observed on the Columbia River near the derailment site early morning. It is contained within the boomed area that was deployed on June 3. Water sampling is underway to confirm if the oil sheen is the same oil from the derailed cars.


  • I-84 was re-opened early morning.
  • Rail lines remain closed with no timeframe for re-opening.
  • River traffic has not been impacted.

June 3, 2016

Ecology is responding to a train derailment in Mosier, Oregon. Ecology responders are en route with equipment and expectation that oil will enter the Columbia River and possibly impact Washington resources.

We launched an overflight from Olympia to determine if oil is entering the Columbia River and also activated our crisis management team to support our responders in the field and provide support to the response in Oregon if needed.

Confirmed information includes:

  • Up to eight rail cars have derailed with some on fire close to the Town of Mosier, Oregon
  • The derailment is also adjacent to a creek that flows into the Columbia River
  • I-84 is closed
  • One elementary school has been evacuated
  • Wildfire crews have been dispatched
  • Oil spill response contractors have been dispatched Smoke has been reported in the area

Local fire authorities and other responders will be monitoring for air quality.

Inhalation of smoke and vapors may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, irritation of the eyes and throat and difficulty breathing at high levels of exposure, particularly in people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

People in the affected area should avoid smoke if the see or smell it.

This is an evolving event and we will share additional information as we receive it.

An incident command post has been established  and emergency responders are addressing the fire.

Ecology’s team in the air is monitoring the smoke and run-off and confirm that no oil has entered the Columbia River.

Another team is in the water and performing air monitoring by boat. More air monitoring equipment is en route.

Preventative measures are being put into place and include placing boom (an oil containment tool) in the river at Rock Creek. Other strategies are also identified and will be implemented for sensitive, natural, cultural and economic resources in the area.

Currently four rail cars are observed to be on fire and I-84 in Wasco County remains closed.

There is still no oil release into the Columbia River and air monitoring results are showing no dangerous levels outside of the half-mile exclusion zone. 

Three rail cars continue to burn. The priority  for the duration of the evening is to ensure rail cars are kept cooled down until fire can be completely extinguished. Responders are hopeful this will occur throughout the night.

I-84 remains closed and the Oregon Department of Transportation reports a 20-mile backup.

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact, ty.keltner@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990

Incident email


Oregon Office of Emergency Management

Cory Grogan, Oregon OEM PIO, 503-383-6608, Cory.grogan@state.or.us  

Oregon DEQ

Greg Svelund, ODEQ PIO, 541-633-2008 / 501-647-4194, svelund.greg@deq.state.or.us

Jennifer Flynt, ODEQ PIO, 503-730-5924, Jennifer.FLYNT@state.or.us

Washington Department of Ecology

Camille St Onge, Ecology PIO, camille.st.onge@ECY.WA.GOV

Oregon DOT

Dave Thompson, ODOT PIO, 503-860-8021, David.H.THOMPSON@odot.state.or.us

US Coast Guard

David Mosley, USCG PIO, 206-510-8805, david.b.mosley@uscg.mil