In all the hue and cry over Oregon LNG's plans for a massive industrial facility on the Warrenton waterfront and its heavy-handed legal maneuvers, reactions to the firm's proposed 117-mile pipeline have been relatively muted ... until last Wednesday.
In what might be charitably regarded as a good break for the company, only about a dozen people attended an administrative proceeding to complain about negative experiences with Oregon LNG over pipeline issues. It's difficult to know whether their concerns are isolated or represent broader problems along the route.
But enough testimony was offered to again chip away at a facade of good neighborliness, with complaints offered about deceptive, secretive and high-pressure tactics.
The CEO of Oregon LNG rejects complaints about misconduct as "absolutely baseless," a reaction that is in itself cause for additional concern. If the head of a company learns his employees and agents have engaged in conduct sufficient to create such negative impressions, they should be the ones called on the carpet, not the landowners whose cooperation you are seeking.
Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge Bobbie McCartney is to be commended for structuring the proceeding in such a way as to give landowners a free forum to vent their experiences. It was most illuminating.
Among other troubling indications, it appears to be the firm's strategy to buffalo landowners into granting access and rights-of-way by telling those who object that their property will be seized via the legal theory of eminent domain. Or that the pipeline perhaps will be placed in such a way as to be even more of a detraction. Furthermore, Oregon LNG won't even specify exactly where they intend to place the pipeline.
All this is much in keeping with Oregon LNG's genesis in the community, arriving in the wake of a secretive deal with now-ousted Port of Astoria leaders. An old proverb advises "what's bred in the bone will out in the flesh." In other words, lifelong habits cannot be concealed. What we are learning about the behavior of Oregon LNG does not bode well for a long-term relationship with our communities.