Category Archives: Minutes and Meeting Notes

Updates, announcements and outreach.

October 3rd Cleaner Air Meeting

Here is  short update from CAAT, the Cully Air Action Team:

The Porter Yett facility, source of asphalt nuisance odors in Cully, is installing a Blue Smoke reduction device. This may solve the odor problems. In the meantime, please remember to file complaints with DEQ at 1-888-997-7888. Complaints will allow DEQ to gauge the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the new equipment.
CAAT is working with Neighbors for Clean Air and PSU to install four ambient metal air monitors in Cully. The monitors are sited in Cully neighbors yards. Thank you to those Cully residents! The monitors will test for metals in our airshed, such as lead particles from Owens-Illinois Glass recycling. Findings will be analyzed by PSU graduate students under the direction of Dr. Linda George, at PSU. We expect data and results in late 2017. DEQ will also site a full-air toxics (including VOC’s) monitors in winter 2017-18.
Some metals are dangerous, creating massive problems in the human body when bio-accumulated. Metals can float through the air as ambients, covering food crops, and collecting in the soil. VOC’s, like paint thinners, are highly carcinogenic and some are mutagenic. Ambient metals and VOCs also cause respiratory distress, reduced immunological response to colds and viruses, and are indicated in ADHD (cadmium), and causatives for childhood neurological changes (lead, cadmium, et al.)
Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), the statewide shift in how Oregon deals with air pollutants, suffered a setback in the 2017 legislative session. But, it is still moving forward due to an increased awareness and understanding of public health concerns. The setback regards funding DEQ’s implementation of CAO at the state level. One additional area of concern being debated currently regards an increase in the number of cancer deaths allowed in a population living near new and existing polluters. CAAT, and other grassroots organizations, are pressuring DEQ to not make this change, called ‘Risk Action Levels’, in Cleaner Air Oregon legislation. Cancer death levels should be decreased, not increased. Please contact your State Representatives, and Governor Brown, and tell them to decrease the ‘Risk Action Levels’, not increase them. The burden here is on the public, for cancers, other pollution related illnesses, and for paying for treatments. Polluting industries must use the best technology available to move towards zero toxic emissions.
CAAT is trying to do a lot! We still need to research National Guard and Port of Portland pollution, PCB contamination of Johnson Lake and the Columbia Slough, and particulate matter (PM), ‘black soot’, pollution from industry, trains, diesel trucks and busses, and highways. CAAT is looking for people who want to become more involved in protecting our local airshed and environs. Join with CAAT at our Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/groups/CullyStinkTeam, or by e-mailing  gsotir@cullycleanair.org

Neighbors for Clean Air is hosting a community workshop on effective air advocacy and public comments from 5:30-9 p.m. at the NAYA Cafetorium (5135 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97218) on Tuesday, October 3rd. We will be providing dinner, translation services, and childcare for all attendees. Cully’s own CAAT, cullycleanair.org, will be there, as well.

 

Here is  short update from CAAT:

The Porter Yett facility, source of much of the asphalt nuisance odors in Cully, has purchased and is installing a Blue Smoke reduction device. This may solve many of the nuisance odor problems. In the meantime, please remember to file nuisance odor complaints with DEQ via phone at 1-888-997-7888. This is important because a ‘decrease’ or ’no change’ in complaints will allow DEQ to gauge the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the new equipment.

CAAT is working with Neighbors for Clean Air and PSU to install four ambient metal air monitors in Cully. The four monitors are now sited in four of Cully’s gracious neighbors yards. Thank you to those Cully residents! The monitors will test for metals that have been dumped into our airshed, such as the lead particles from Owens-Illinois Glass recycling. Finding will be analyzed by PSU graduate students under the direction of Dr. Linda George, a professor at PSU. We expect data and results by the end of the year. DEQ will also site one of their full-air toxics monitors to test for volatile organic compounds, VOC’s (!!!yaaay!!!) in winter 2017-18.

Metals are dangerous because the can create massive problems in the human body when bio-accumulated. They can float through the air as ambients, and cover food crops, and lodge themselves in the soil. VOC’s, like paint thinners, are highly carcinogenic and some are mutagenic. Ambient metals and VOCs also cause respiratory distress, reduced immunological response to colds and viruses, and are indicated in ADHD (cadmium) and causatives for childhood neurological changes and disorders (lead, cadmium, et al.)

Cleaner Air Oregon (CAO), the omnibus statewide shift in how Oregon deals with air pollutants, suffered a setback in the 2017 legislative session in Salem. But, it is still moving forward due to an increased awareness and understanding, and urgency, for public health concerns. The setback primarily regards funding DEQ’s implementation of CAO at the state level. One additional area of concern being debated currently regards an increase in the number of cancer deaths allowed in a population living near new and existing polluters. CAAT, and other grassroots organizations, are pressuring DEQ to not make this change in Cleaner Air Oregon legislation. It is called ‘Risk Action Levels’ and this assessment for cancer death levels should be decreased, not increased. Please contact your State Representatives, and Governor Brown, and tell them to decrease the proposed ‘Risk Action Levels’, not increase them. The burden here is on the public, for cancers, other pollution related illnesses, and for paying for treatments. Polluting industries must use the best technology available to move towards zero toxic emissions.

With a great sense of sadness, CAAT saw intern Miguel Torres-Mondragon leave due to family issues. Miguel helped CAAT with organizing Spanish speaking Cully residents. CAAT, and Living Cully, are interviewing new interns for outreach to diverse communities and to promote Environmental Justice (EJ.) This position is being funded by a grant from our good friends, Neighbors for Clean Air.

CAAT is trying to do a lot! But we still need to research National Guard and Port of Portland pollution, PCB contamination of Johnson Lake and the Columbia Slough, and particulate matter (PM), ‘black soot’, pollution from industry, trains, diesel trucks and busses, and highways.

Finally, CAAT needs you. CAAT is looking for people who want to become more involved in protecting our local airshed and environs. If interested in a ‘Meet and Greet’ for August/September 2017 please get in touch. Join with CAAT at our Facebook site or by e-mailing  info@cullycleanair.org

CAAT and Oregon Environmental Council Bring Citizen Science Diesel Study to Cully

On Tuesday, 6 December, Oregon Environmental Council and CAAT will present a diesel-focused outreach in both Spanish and English to Cully residents.

OEC will discuss the effects of diesel on human health and ways in which we are exposed to its particulates, then elaborate on the neighborhood diesel study in which we will participate. Building upon the pilot program in the Lents neighborhood, we will use black carbon monitoring and technology to upload a map which documents our exposure.

This will be a fun and informative meeting! Childcare, food and translation are available. It’s not imperative, but please contact xanham@cullycleanair.org to RSVP for childcare, or for more questions.

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CAAT OEC espanol
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CAAT OEC flier ingles

Cleaner Air Oregon Public Forum & Rally, 5 Oct

xan1CAAT wants you to come to the Cleaner Air Oregon Public Forum on Wednesday, October 5th!

There will be a rally at 5:00pm, before the Forum officially starts at 6:00pm. The forum is schedule to end at 8:30pm.

Cleaner Air Oregon wants to hear from people across the state to pass on their views and thoughts to the CAO Regulatory Advisory Committee. This is a VERY IMPORTANT opportunity for Cully to share what is on their mind regarding the upcoming revamping of our air quality legislation.

The forum with include presentations by DEQ and OHA staff, and there will be opportunity to give this input after these presentations.

There will be childcare and interpretation if DEQ has advance notice that both are needed. Respond if you have these needs to CleanerAir.Oregon.gov/forum-rsvp

If you can’t attend, there will be an online version of the forums available via CleanerAir.Oregon.gov from Sep 13 – Oct 5.

Monday Air Quality Update

The Cully Air Action Team has been extremely busy and involved in air quality issues over the past few months. This is the first weekly posting spree, split into several topic-based posts, serving to bring readers up to speed on CAAT’s activism and issues that exist with air quality in Cully, in addition to listing important upcoming meetings and events that people should attend. We all breathe air from the same airshed!

July saw the establishment of a weekly, 30-minute call-in conversation with representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Multnomah County, to discuss the many air quality issues that affect us, in Cully: Heavy industry with little or no air filtration; several high-use transportation corridors; the Port of Portland; Forest Service moss results;  Air Quality informational meetings; specific polluters I will mention, below.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) moss samples indicated that Cully is the most polluted neighborhood in all of Portland. From this data, DEQ decided to establish two air monitors in Cully. One air monitor was located on 1 Sep at Parkrose Deliverance Tabernacle on NE 57th & Portland Highway, while the second is at a BES Pumping Station on about NE 62nd, north of Columbia Highway, placed 19 Sep. Both air monitors are functioning, with data collected daily by DEQ. To complement these monitors, a meteorological data station has been mounted atop Living Cully Plaza. On 1 Oct, DEQ will begin to analyze 30 days’ worth of data from the first monitor, in addition to corresponding meteorological data, and we are told to expect results sometime mid-Oct. These results will indicate what has been in the air for 30 days, but unfortunately will not pinpoint the source of the heavy metals. If the results show that there is a level of heavy metals that exceeds state health benchmarks, OHA will take some form of action to alert public.

As to why DEQ is spending so much time, effort and outreach on Cully:

  1. Cully is a historically underserved community, the largest and most diverse neighborhood in Portland. There are issues of environmental justice and unheard voices that need to be immediately addressed.
  2. From the Moss Samples we can see that Cully is off the chartsregarding aluminum, chromium and cobalt (highest in Portland for all three), iron; very high in arsenic, lead, copper, zinc, and molybdenum. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr938.pdf

This is a fantastic document, listing all the moss sample sites throughout the city, and the corresponding metals found in each sample. Although I knew Cully was bad, I hadn’t considered all the metals measured in the samples, as Bullseye and Uruboros were gathering attention for Chromium, Cobalt, and Arsenic. Thus, when I looked at the sample from two blocks away, I was astounded to see the aluminium measured the worst in the city. Everyone should look at their closest moss samples to see what was collected. It is difficult to envision air pollution amidst blue skies and gorgeous days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7/2/2016 Cully Air Action Team Meeting Notes

The Cully Air Action Team met and discussed the items below. If you are interested in joining us for our next meeting please contact us here.
Discussion
1. Regular meetings: We want to meet regularly and have agreed that for now, it works to meet once per month on a Sunday morning for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.
The next meeting will be Sunday, August 7th, at 10 a.m. Those who can are encouraged to bring a brunchy treat.
2. Collaborations with other groups:
Living Cully: We are currently collaborating with a variety of community groups and organizations, representing the interests of neighbors in Cully around air quality. We are aligned with Living Cully in our efforts to get monitoring in the neighborhood from DEQ. That appears to be moving in the right direction. We will be engaging in weekly check-ins (conference calls) on the monitoring topic to get updates, get our questions answered, etc. These weekly calls are an opportunity to bring up other issues that interest us and that we think DEQ can address, such as the ongoing stink problems with Porter Yett and Tina’s response so far. We want to bring this up in the next conversation as it appears that Nina is more responsive, so maybe she can help us. The next phone call with DEQ is scheduled for Thursday, July 14 at 12 noon and every Thursday thereafter t 12 noon. Gregory, Xan and Alma are invited. Let one of us know if you want to add a question/comment to our list.
Additionally, we’re looking at the things that Xan mentioned in her previous update about that last meeting with DEQ.
We want to continue to collaborate with Living Cully as we feel this has been a very positive experience so far and Tony’s goals for environmental justice is aligned with ours, and the relationship is good.
Portland Clean Air: We have worked with Greg B and Seth W from PCA in the past around permits, mapping, and creating a fact sheet for Cully (this last one is ongoing). PCA conducted some canvassing in our neighborhood and as a result they have an additional 50 or so members who live in Cully. They want to pass the group to us so we plan on a joint communication to invite those folks to join CAAT. Alma is working on that with Greg B from PCA. Thinking that we can plan for a meeting perhaps in late August or September for people interested in joining us. I’ll look into a venue, like a library community room. PCA is also put a spectrometer to measure VOCs in a safe place and it could be moved to Evans since she lives closer to Porter Yett. We’re hoping it could capture the type of data that the DEQ monitors won’t because those monitors only measure metals.
Big Tent Coalition: Xan is in touch with Mary Peveto  of Neighbors for Clean Air and others as part of a coalition looking for statewide solutions to diesel.
Spokes Council: We’re also involved in discussions about a spokes council with PCA, EPAC and other groups. Gregory is our point person for that.
3. Updating the website: Our site needs content! Can you please check it out, check out what’s been posted before and let us know what kind of information would make it more relevant for folks wanting to join our group. Gregory is in the process of updating our name to CAAT. Meanwhile, what else should we include? 

What is the Cully Air Action Team?

The Cully Air Action Team, previously known as the Cully Stink Team, was started in early 2015 to address ongoing air pollution and toxicity in Portland’s Cully neighborhood. The Cully neighborhood is the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in all of Oregon, and includes many elderly and economically vulnerable people as well. It stretches roughly, from NE 42nd Ave to NE 82nd, and from NE Prescott to the contaminated Columbia Slough. The neighborhood is well-known for vegetable and flower gardens, large and beautiful trees, and oversize yards. Formerly, Cully was an agricultural area owned by Thomas Cully, and before that an important area for Native people that included the Chinook village of Neerchokikoo (Whitaker Ponds.)

Due to adverse planning that regarded residents as second-class citizens, industrial development was located along the Columbia Slough, and a large dump placed near the Union Pacific rail line. Some of these areas have been remediated, including the new Thomas Cully Park, while others allowed to continue polluting the air and groundwater.

To address the recurrent noxious odors, the Cully Stink Team has focused much of it’s efforts on the Porter W. Yett asphalt facility, just south of the rail line by NE Cully Blvd. and NE Columbia Blvd. This facility uses bitumen from the Athabasca Tar Sands region. These petrochemical products comprise some of the dirtiest carbon resources currently in use and their refining has led to a cancer epidemic among the Athabasca, the Peace River and other First Nation peoples of Alberta, Canada. In making asphalt, the Porter Yett facility releases sulfur compounds, benzene and other VOC/PAHs, carbon monoxide, and PM2.5 and PM10. Some of these compounds are carcinogenic and the others can cause respiratory difficulties and diseases including emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. Synergistic effects have, of course, been poorly researched.

Porter Yett is just one of numerous industrial polluters, including Boeing, the Oregon National Guard, and Owens Brockway glass recycling. Cully residents have repeatedly contacted Oregon State DEQ officials, filed verbal and online complaints and spoke with local elected officials about odors and toxicity. The DEQ’s response has been inadequate. The DEQ seems conditioned to weigh industrial concerns with more emphasis than local community members health concerns. We are pushing for a shift away from this legislative danger, aware that many of these pollutants have negative long-term health effects as well as short-term negative comfort effects.

We want, at a minimum, for the DEQ to represent people and protect the health of the community. We want consistent monitoring, unannounced in advance to industries, to identify point source contaminants and all carcinogens. We want effective regulations imposed to eliminate these poisons and carcinogens from entering the environment.

Cully has recurring and severe airborne stink events. Numerous complaints have been filed with DEQ yet nothing has been done to address the current airborne stink event. As taxpayers, homeowners, community members, locavore farmers, gardeners, and breathers we demand the DEQ move swiftly to eliminate carcinogens and other pollutants that are dumped, pumped, or combusted into the Cully biosphere.

Complain to the Oregon DEQ about an Airborne Stink Event

Questions? Contact us at info@cullycleanair.org