The race for District 1 Commissioner for the Port of Vancouver is setting records for the amount of money pouring in on both sides.
Insurance company owner Kris Greene has gathered more than $591,000, $370,000 of that from the oil industry.
His opponent Don Orange, who owns an auto repair shop, has contributions totaling more than $403,000, with $292,600 coming as in-kind donations from the environmental group Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund.
Those contributions are more than any Port Commission race in Washington State in the past 10 years, maybe longer.
And it all involves oil.
Vancouver Energy, formed by two big oil companies, is leasing land from the Port of Vancouver to develop if the State of Washington approves its plan. The company would like to build a $210 million oil export terminal. It would handle as many as 360,000 barrels of oil a day, brought to the facility along the Columbia River by train.
The land lease comes up for renewal every 90 days. Port commissioners vote whether to renew or not.
There are only three port commissioners in Vancouver. One is leaving and the two remaining are split on whether to keep renewing the lease for the terminal.
The winner of the election will decide if the lease continues and the oil terminal plan survives.
Don Orange says he would end the lease as soon as possible. Kris Greene says he would allow the lease to continue until the state decides if the facility will be safe.
That’s why so much money is pouring in to the race and why so many people will be watching closely to see what happens November 7.