Adopt-a-Block Update: Some Pointers for Keeping your Block Clean this Fall

By Jody Guth

Alas, the dog days of summer are behind us, and the cool, refreshing showers of autumn will soon be upon us. Along with that change comes the shedding of mature Linden, Maple, and Oak trees lining our streets, plus the many more, newly planted trees. A big shout out to Friends of Trees and the great work they do to improve Eliot’s green spaces!

Please remember to do your part and help to keep those leaves from clogging the sewers when the rain starts falling more heavily in the coming months. It also really helps those hard-working adopt-a-block folks who volunteer to keep the blocks you live on free of trash. When mixed with wet leaves, retrieving that debris and the tossed cigarette butts can be a particular challenge. In fact, the challenge is so great I hereby personally invite everyone reading this, now, to put down the paper, go to your phone and call me, Jody, at 503-331-1511 (ok, finish your coffee, first…) I’ll get you set up with all the bags, gloves, and info you need. I know, I know….it doesn’t really seem like the best way to spend a few minutes of your day, but trust me, you’ll feel great when people pass you by and thank you for your efforts. You’ll swoon when looking down the block you just toiled over and, in your own little corner of Eliot, along with 23 other toilers, you’ve managed to improve the appearance and sustainability of this one little street. Also, you’ll be thrilled to know that you are then entered into a drawing (1 out of 24 chances is pretty sweet) for a $100.00 gift certificate to New Seasons. Our next drawing is coming up shortly, and your name will be entered if you claim your block soon.

Of course it’s great to win prizes, but hopefully, your decision to join with other adopters is also one of simply caring for your community and a desire to give a little back. Our last two adopters, Cindy, who has adopted Cook Street between Rodney and MLK, and Laura, who decided to give some attention to Williams between Tillamook and San Rafael have gladdened those areas with their trusty Solve bags in tow. You might also be a hero like Brian who discovered some lost papers on his clean-up and is trying to connect them to their owners. Nice save, Brian.

I look forward to adding your name to our fine roster of dedicated Eliot Adopt-ablockers. So finish that coffee and call,
already, ‘k?

Surprise Geyser and Amazing Volunteers Rush to Save the Day

By Andrine de la Rocha

Who expected that weaving 72 native willow saplings into a dome in the middle of Boise Eliot Native Grove might invoke such magic? But in early August a geyser gushed forth from the center of the Willow Dome, flooded the Fremont Bridge ramp and created a sinkhole that appeared beneath the leafy structure.

City crews were called to investigate and immediately opened nearby hydrants to stem the tide. Turns out it was a broken water main under the Grove. Crews isolated the pipe under the Willow Dome and stopped the flow. The sinkhole that formed inside the Dome was cordoned off with warning tape. Pipe repair was scheduled but threatened to destroy some of the plantings.

Fortunately, Grove volunteers from Bureau of Environmental Services, Xerces Society, Ivy School, and friends of the Boise Eliot Native Grove leaped into action, digging up dozens of Willow and Ninebark plantings to preserve them from the backhoe. Plants were stored in 20 buckets until the repair was completed, and another crew of hearty volunteers worked to replant them at the end of the month. Hurrah for Community! Also, a huge thank you to all our Watering Heroes and Willow Guardians this summer for keeping the Grove enchanting.

Volunteers Cynthia Plank, Jack
Lazerek, and Jenni & Katie from
Xerxes Society. Photo credit Colleen Mitchell, BES

Stay tuned at the Boise Eliot Native Grove website, Facebook, and Instagram about upcoming willow weaving and other marvelous events! http://www.nativegrovepdx.org

Letter from the Chair: Call to Action

As we return from summer vacations or hanging out in the park, beach or backyard, to the routines of our lives and responsibilities, I want to focus on the appalling condition of the air we breathe here in Portland, and more specifically in Eliot.

You’ll read in Greg Bouchet’s article, on the cover page of this issue, that Eliot is in the bullseye of diesel pollution. We breathe air with significantly higher concentrations of diesel particulates than 99% of other communities in America. Not a good statistic and very bad for our health. In fact, this is potentially life-threatening. “Diesel exhaust is 100 times more toxic than gasoline engine exhaust,” according to a 2008 study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. “Diesel exhaust is 80%-95% ultra-fine particles of carbon ‘soot’ with cancer-causing chemical riders that evade our natural defenses, reach the lungs, pass into the blood-stream, and circulate to our vital organs including the heart and brain.”

This past August, Oregon’s Legislature passed HB 2007 to limit the diesel particulates emitted from diesel engines, but not until 2029. Do we want to continue to breathe this bad air for another 10 years, while the polluters figure out how to comply? Or more realistically, until the economic impact is lessened by the attrition of dirty diesel trucks and construction engines?

The Volkswagen settlement money ($50,000,000) and the money from the Legislature (also millions of dollars) are available to businesses NOW for filtering these dirty engines. Why can’t the cleanup begin NOW?

Eliot Neighborhood Association is joining local neighborhood and advocacy group efforts to take action. For this effort, we need committed people of any skill level. We are looking for residents or anyone working in Eliot. Our Board needs you to help us form a strong, inclusive, passionate team to advocate for stronger, sooner regulations. Also we need to help local businesses gain access to the $50,000,000 ODOT, which is available for small under-represented trucking owners. Eliot Neighborhood Association has created a new committee, eACT, Eliot Advocacy for Clean-air Team. If you want to join us contact me at chair@eliotneighborhood.org

Eliot Neighborhood Association’s Eliot Advocacy for Clean Air Team, eACT, needs YOU!

The Eliot Neighborhood Association general meeting on October 21 will host Portland Clean Air. Come hear more about this problem, weigh in with your thoughts and find out how you can help make the air we breathe cleaner and less dangerous.

Also, at the October meeting, we will hold the annual elections of board members for the 2020 term. We hope to see you there and that you consider signing up to help with eACT or becoming a board member or simply get involved with other neighborhood association activities and events.

Support Portland Clean Air and Breathe Easier in the Future

By Greg Bourget

Diesel particulate is the worst airborne carcinogen according to State of California risk assessments. In Portland it comes primarily from industrial unfiltered trucks making in-city deliveries. Currently Portland is ranked in the worst 1.3% of counties in the nation for airborne diesel particulate according to the most recent EPA three-year assessment. Airborne diesel particulate affects the Eliot Neighborhood more than most Portland neighborhoods. California banned unfiltered diesel trucks statewide and by 2015 there were virtually none left. Diesel particulate filters remove 90% of diesel particulate emissions. In contrast, three-quarters of the trucks in the three-county Portland area have no filter according to ODOT and DMV records. The in-city stretch of I5, including the part that runs through Eliot neighborhood, has the 24-hour highest truck counts in Portland according to ODOT monitoring studies.

DEQ reported diesel-powered vehicles are only 6% of Oregon vehicles on the road yet emit 60 – 70% of all particulate emissions from all on-road vehicles combined. The State of California reported that currently diesel particulate is still “responsible for about 70% of California’s estimated known cancer risk attributable to toxic air contaminants.” DEQ reported in 2015 that diesel exhaust causes lung and bladder cancer, certain heart attacks and other blood clotting diseases, coronary artery disease, malignant childhood brain tumors, decreased cognitive functioning, increased incidence of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), acute bronchitis, and asthma. A study by Bishop et al. found diesel particulate causes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Immediate symptoms include eye and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm, swollen airway, bronchial irritation, nausea, headache, lightheadedness, and fatigue.

Portland Clean Air believes negotiation with unfiltered trucking companies is the solution. The Oregon diesel bill HB 2007 which passed June 30, 2019, was gutted by industry. It allows a ten-year phase-out. California did a seven-year phase-out starting nine years ago! Numerous loopholes allow trucking companies to avoid even that deadline. The Oregon legislature accepts unlimited corporate campaign donations. This is illegal in 45 states. Since we can’t count on the Oregon Legislature, neighbors have been directly negotiating with industrial polluters instead. Since the
Bullseye scandal, eight Portland area industries have installed a smokestack scrubber at a cost of $70 K to $20 M due solely to
negotiations with neighbors.

Judging by model year, XPO Logistics has 8,604 unfiltered trucks – by far the largest unfiltered truck fleet in the Portland area. XPO Logistics, Consolidated Freightways, and USF Reddaway combined have 12,036 unfiltered trucks – more than TriMet and the next largest 24 unfiltered Portland area fleets combined. As the state of Oregon barely regulates them, I think they require a response from us, their neighbors.

Portland Clean Air is working with 41 Portland Neighborhood Association boards, the North East Coalition of Neighborhoods, and 24 Portland-area churches and synagogues to address this airborne diesel particulate through negotiation with unfiltered industrial truck fleets. We are also looking at companies who contract with these unfiltered fleets.

Portland Clean Air appreciates the Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA) who has taken a leadership role to address this with us. ENA has formed a committee to take action. If you have questions about how you can help with this committee, or about monitoring, home air filters, or any other questions, please contact me at greg@portlandcleanair.org or for more information go to portlandcleanair.org/ diesel.

Come hear a presentation by Portland Clean Air at the Eliot
Neighborhood Association general assembly meeting on Monday, October 21 at 6:30pm at St Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott St (the corner of Knott and Rodney).

Livability Committee Makes an Impact – Clean and Green

By Karla Gostnell

The Eliot Livability Committee is proud of some updates we want to share with you.

 Neighborhood Litter Pick-up: Thank you, neighborhood volunteers, for a successful Earth Day clean-up on April 20. We removed over 800 pounds of trash from our streets and sidewalks this time, with 35 volunteers showing up to help. Special thanks to Breadwinner Cycles & Cafe for lending their parking lot and keeping us caffeinated!

Trees, trees, trees!! This spring saw over 40 new street trees planted in Eliot as part of a small business grant from the Neighborhood Association, partnering with Friends of Trees and the Eliot Livability Team, as well as support from Toyota to tree-up their own property line on N.E. San Rafael. Trees are truly an investment in the beautification and livability of our neighborhood and we are so glad for the businesses that received new trees on their properties. If you notice young trees suffering from lack of water in the summer heat, please reach out to the Livability Team by email at livability at eliotneighborhood dot org.