Letter from the Chair: Co-Chairs That Work Together

Our co-chairs Allan Rudwick and Jimmy Wilson recently sat down for a discussion about priorities for the coming year. We came away with a few things. Firstly, we are committed to being co-chairs because we want to work together. Working together means taking the shared experiences of our lives and using them to guide where we are going.

Co-chair Jimmy Wilson expressed a vision to help the homeless community. “As a city, we have been in a ‘housing emergency’ for 5 or so years and we don’t have much to show for it.” It was further discussed what it would mean for the Eliot NA to do something about it.

Co-Chair Allan Rudwick expressed concern about the desire to see vacant land in the neighborhood turned into useful places for people to thrive. This means a bunch of different pieces, working with the city and landholders to actually motivate building on vacant land. Some of that is just
reaching out to landowners, some of it is working with the city.

In addition, Co-Chair Allan Rudwick’s desire is to see something done about Diesel pollution. “We have a problem in Portland and in Eliot in particular with the number of unfiltered Diesel trucks rolling down I-5 in particular and other streets in the area. This is leading us to breathe more Diesel Particulate (aka Black Carbon) than other neighborhoods farther away from major truck routes. There are some solutions that seem obvious like requiring filters on trucks.” Cochair Jimmy Wilson mentioned that the problem of diesel particulates has been an issue for a long time and people have complained heavily in the past to no avail. This new effort may have legs but it should recognize those that came before and tried.

It is the sentiment of the co-chairs that “we are second to the community. We aren’t attending meetings just for fun, we’re doing it to try to make this a better place. Whether it is picking up trash, feeding people, or keeping a space for local residents to get help with their issues, we want the people of the neighbor to know that the Eliot NA Board is here for them. “We are trying to support the strong citizens in the neighborhood. Sometimes that is advice on how to get in touch with the city, sometimes it is financial grants but always it comes from a place of respect and understanding that everyone is trying their best.”

Further, we are out here trying to make the world better for the next generations.

Our time is now, but if we can’t clean up pollution and build a great place, what are we leaving for the young people? There is no personal glory in this job, but there is satisfaction with helping people make a difference.

Letter from the Chair – A Call to Action

Hello Neighbors,

Eliot is in the bullseye of diesel particulate pollution. This is due partly to our proximity to I-5 and I-84, but also to MLK, which is a truck route, and the N Williams/N Vancouver corridor. All these roads carry dirty diesel trucks every day. Oregon allows unfiltered diesel trucks on our roads. This is dangerous for us because the National Institute of Health says “the health effects of diesel exhaust emissions… acute effects of diesel exhaust exposure include irritation of the nose and eyes, lung function changes, respiratory changes, headache, fatigue, and nausea. Chronic exposures are associated with cough, sputum production, and lung function decrements.” And… “Continuous exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can cause long term, or chronic, respiratory ill health with symptoms including coughing and feeling breathless. At worst, if people are exposed to diesel engine exhaust fumes regularly and over a long period, there is an increased risk of getting lung cancer.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11401072/

Since Eliot has LONG been affected by diesel AND has tried several times to get legislation or regulation on pollution, long term neighbors wonder what’s different this time.

Well, a few factors have changed. The Oregon Legislature is finally taking up this issue this term. Our neighbors to the east have all converged to focus the legislature’s attention because of new data from the lichen study, PSU scientists, the ODOT I-5 expansion proposal, the Willamette Superfund recent movement toward resolution, the Volkswagen settlement and, yes, opening of Harriett Tubman Middle School. See HB 2007 “The Diesel Bill”.  

(https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1dBPerjxQcmUHVpZXk1UXFUemsycEFnV3dIZmMwcEpob0dR)

The 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, and also to help local businesses gain access to the $50,000,000 ODOT funds, which are available for small under-represented trucking owners. ENA has created a new committee, eACT, Eliot Advocacy for Clean-air Team. This Team will meet the 2nd or 3rd week of July. If you want to join us contact me at chair at eliotneighborhood dot org

See Environmental Advocacy for Clean-Air Team: Eliot eACT.