The surf may have been up last Monday, but members of the Surfrider Foundation weren't talking about the size of summertime waves. Instead, they were indoors at Salvador Molly's in Southwest Portland, fretting about the state of Oregon's beaches. Although traditionally a fiercely individualist sport, over the past ten years, Surfrider Foundation has managed to rally surfers up and down the West Coast around political issues that matter to them: clean water and beach conservation.
The thrust of Monday's meeting was to push forward the organization's Blue Water Task Force, a wide-reaching plan to test water quality at more than 6,000 beaches (five within Oregon). While out hanging ten surfers will grab water samples and turn them over to the DEQ for analysis.
"We have fairly clean water on the Oregon coast, but with the rapid development of coastal communities, pollution could become a problem if we don't protect it," says Billy Hagerman, co-chair of Surfrider's Oregon chapter. Last year, Congress passed the B.E.A.C.H. Bill mandating states to conduct regular water-quality tests. This plan essentially replicates the water testing that Surfrider currently manages; so far, however, the bill has not been implemented on a wide-scale. "One out of three states doesn't have water testing," adds Hagerman. "It's ridiculous!" SARAH CAMPBELL
Can't Drive 65
Taking your car out on the open road might be a lot faster and more fun since Governor Kitzhaber decided to finally support a bill ratcheting the speed limit up to 75 mph. During the past few legislative sessions, Kitzhaber has put the brakes on similar proposals.
Introduced by Sen. Randy Miller (R-West Linn), SB 502 will raise the speed limit on interstates to 75 for cars and 65 for trucks. In May, the bill whizzed through the senate; it has taken a pit stop at the Transporation Subcommittee but should return to the senate floor any day now for a final vote.
Because most Western states have 75 mph limits, supporters claim that Oregon is not keeping pace with modern times. Interestingly, though, if this bill passes, Oregon will only be one of eleven states with posted 75 mph limits. TAMARA LARSON