Editor's note: The Oregonian, in its report on the derailment in the Columbia River Gorge, notes that Union Pacific hauls two types of oil through the area -- a thick crude from Utah and Bakken crude from North Dakota. - Tom
The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) deep, the canyon stretches for over 80 miles (130 km) as the river winds westward through the Cascade Range forming the boundary between the State of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. Extending roughly from the confluence of the Columbia with the Deschutes River down to eastern reaches of the Portland metropolitan area, the water gap furnishes the only navigable route through the Cascades and the only water connection between the Columbia River Plateau and the Pacific Ocean.
The gorge holds federally protected status as a National Scenic Area called the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and is managed by the Columbia River Gorge Commission and the US Forest Service. The gorge is a popular recreational destination.