PORTLAND -- There are about a hundred liquefied natural gas plants nationwide like the one near Plymouth, Wash. that had an explosion Monday. Many people are unaware that one of those is in Portland, less than a mile from homes and businesses.
Located near the west end of the St. Johns bridge, it’s big and baby blue. It's hard to miss.
Although it's been there for almost 50 years, many people don't know it contains LNG. It can actually hold more than 7 million gallons of the highly condensed gas.
NW Natural uses that gas on peak usage days. But some worry the tank is in a dangerous spot.
It sits just across the river from the St. Johns community, on ground that state geologists say in the event of an earthquake could slide into the river.
Whitney Walker is a member of the community’s emergency response team.
“I was told that's our biggest concern in St. Johns and if we have a kind of earthquake like they're predicting with the Cascadia Subduction Zone,” said Walker, pointing to the tank across the river, "that's going to explode."
A NW Natural spokeswoman said the system and LNG tank meet all safety standards.
“We meet or exceed all state and federal regulations for our liquid natural gas tank,” said communications manager Melissa Moore.
She said the tank sits on pilings that are built deep into the bedrock, so it should remain secure during an earthquake.
The company said it is closely following the investigation into the explosion near Plymouth.