Ever worry about the safety of rail cars carrying crude oil shipments through your neighborhood or city?

If you live within a half-mile of the route, perhaps you should worry, given the increase in oil shipments by rail and spate of derailments such as the disaster at Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

ForestEthics has produced an interactive map that allows users to pinpoint if they live, work or hang out in the “blast zone” that could be vulnerable to oil train accidents.

San Francisco-based ForestEthics is one of many environmental advocacy groups concerned about the widening use of DOT-111 tanker cars used to carry oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota and the tar sands fields of Alberta.

The Blast Zone mapping tool is available at

Type in an address and you can see if it’s near the red zone, a band within a half-mile of the rail line that might be evacuated if there’s an oil train derailment, or a yellow zone, a mile within the rail line that also may be impacted.

Many properties in Northwest and North Portland, among others, fall within those zones.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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