I would just add that it was the advocacy of a lot of people that brought this bad project to an end. This project was strongly opposed by neighborhoods, tribes and conservation groups. I would particularly single out the residents of the manufactured home community who live next door to the proposed project and would have borne the brunt of its negative impacts. They fought every step of the way and they set some really important precedents along the way. This was the first project in Portland that was required to do a Health Impact Assessment to quantify the potential direct impacts on the local community. It was also the first time that the city insisted that meaningful mitigation be included to offset impacts to the local human community. Many, including Audubon, would argue that this proposed mitigation did not go anywhere far enough--for example it failed to address a tripling of air toxics that would have increased local air toxic levels to 55 times the state benchmarks. None the less it did set a new precedent for how we think about how major projects impact vulnerable communities that should be built upon in the future. I would also note the Yakama Nation which provided incredibly powerful testimony to remind Portland that what we do on our portion of the river has impacts throughout the entire system. City Council also deserves credit for standing strong in the face of huge pressure to externalize the negative impacts of this project. The end of the annexation process is a huge win for our communities and our environment and it demonstrates the power of grassroots activism in Portland.
If you disagree with council, testify, write a letter, protest, vote them out of office....but don't turn our public utilities over some of the biggest corporate polluters and least civic-minded industries in Portland. These folks have been trying to gut the city's environmental programs for years. The folks that have been backing Ken Crawford include Superfund responsible parties Silltronic and Vigor Industrial, and other big industrial interests like Precision Cast Parts, Hilton, Harsch Investment Properties, Sapa and American Property Management. Do you think these companies give a damn about anything other than their own profits?
Audubon Society of Portland
How does creating an obscure special district increase accountability or transparency. How many people can name a single member of any of our existing special districts let alone track their decisions? This initiative is backed by industrial polluters who have long held an agenda of gutting the city's environmental programs. Now they have resorted to this Trojan horse masquerading as a populist revolt. It is pathetic that Friends of the Reservoirs in their frustration and desperation have allied themselves with industrial polluters... If you don't like the way council manages the bureaus, write a letter, attend a hearing, vote them out of office...but don't make the oversight of critical public bureaus more remote and obscure and don't fuel the anti-environment agenda of some of Portland's biggest environmental polluters and least civic-minded industries.
Audubon Society of Portland
Amazing but not surprising to once again see the Port of Portland blowing off the concerns of the community. They should go back and read the multiple studies that were produced for the West Hayden Island Process, all of which assume that the CRC will be built as per plans in 2011.
These studies include the PBOT Transportation Analysis in which the City concluded the following:
"Removal of or significant alterations to the current CRC project parameters would have a residual effect on all planning models undertaken by PBOT including modeling assumptions for WHI. Any significant changes to the CRC would require PBOT to reassess their models for WHI, and could result in different conclusions."
It also includes the Cost/ Benefit Analysis which concluded the following:
"This results depends on the assumption that the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) and Hayden Island Plan will be implemented as currently envisioned. To the extent that the on island traffic improvements in the CRC and Hayden Island Plan do not happen as assumed in the City’s traffic analysis, it will increase the probability that port related traffic would generate negative traffic impacts. These impacts could include increased congestion on EHI roadways, increased delays and travel times, and increased traffic accidents. "
"We assume that both the CRC and Hayden Island Plan will happen as currently described. To the extent that neither or both of these changes do not happen, the consequences wouldmostly affect the results of our analysis of Q of L effects of the proposed development on EHI. We describe these consequences in our description of the effects of the development on Q of L in EHI."
It also included the Public Health Analysis which concluded the following:
"The biggest challenge to predicting the future traffic safety implications on Hayden Island is uncertainty about the Columbia River Crossing project."
"Traffic congestion relief from CRC project is the biggest factor in the difference between
the 2005 base and either 2035 scenario for both GHG and VMT."
But hey, the Port has never shown for a second that it gives a damn about the community or the environment. It has always been about empire building so why should that change now?
Couple of quick clarifications to the blog above: We are more concerned about the philosophy that drove these cuts than the cuts themselves. The City has a significant budget deficit and many programs are suffering as result. Our big concern is the fact that responsibility for the city's green infrastructure has been moved from the rates to the already oversubscribed general fund where it will compete with core social safety net programs. Green infrastructure belongs on the rates as it is a core part of the city's stormwater infrastructure. We are also concerned by indications from the mayor's office that it no longer views the Bureau of Environmental Services as the City's environmental agency. BES has been at the center of environmental progress in Portland for the past two decades. This is a huge step backwards. Regardless of whether rates are lowered or not, it makes sense to fund green infrastructure from the rates and to house the city's environmental programs at BES.
Audubon Society of Portland
The Public Advisory Committee, which was handed the mayor's 83 page long proposal full of technical and legal language at the start of their final meeting today, voted 5-3-1 against the Mayor's proposal (5 against, 3 okay but would like modifications and 1 supporting). That is a pretty amazing defeat given that two of the environmental representatives on the original committee were not present today (one was not able to make the hastily scheduled meeting and I resigned in June when the city last tried to railroad the public process). The Mayor is calling this a "win-win." That is a sad joke---not only does his plan fail to adequately address community health and environmental impacts, but his 11th hour backroom dealing with the Port and his efforts to completely steamroll the public process shred the commitment to equity and inclusive public process that he helped enshrine in the Portland Plan. Really sad to see the mayor go out like this---hunkered down in backrooms with the Port of Portland. The mayor still has time to live-up to the vision of equity that he helped develop. If he won't then hopefully the Planning and Sustainability Commission and the rest of City Council will.....
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