For over a decade, Lisa Nelson enjoyed all that Mosier and the surrounding Gorge provided in terms of community connection and recreation. She volunteered for the school and skied, sailed, ran and hiked her beloved backyard. Her secluded home sits just a few hundred feet from the railroad tracks. She didn’t really think much about the oil trains that rolled by until June 3rd.
The derailment and fire forced Lisa and her husband John to cut through neighbors’ backyards to reach their property which abuts Rock Creek and the Historic Columbia River Highway. As they watched from their backyard, the smoke and flames shooting above the treetops unnerved her. One of the “non-explosion” explosions (the railroad people told her not to call it an “explosion”) shook her. “I heard it, I felt it and I briefly cried,” Lisa chuckled.
The threat of these trains has now permanently sunk in. “This has changed my life,” said Lisa. “I’m embarrassed to say I was only vaguely aware of the oil trains. Now it is all consuming.” Perhaps the biggest loss for her is the loss of safety when she is home. “Our home was a haven for us,” said Lisa. “Now, I don’t feel as safe here.”
But she is not totally discouraged. “Most people I know that live here want to live here a long time,” said Lisa. “People come here to stay. I feel we are going to be a stronger community because of this and more people will be involved. We will be listened to.”