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? 

New Moss study released for Cully in June 2016

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These heavy metal concentrations are from the corner of NE 57th and Portland Highway.

 

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These heavy metal concentrations are from NE Cornfoot Road adjacent to Oregon National Air Guard.

The USFS maps are located here.

What these photographs and maps show are elevated concentrations of heavy metals in our Cully neighborhood. These concentrations may come for a variety of sources including industrial polluters such as Porter Yett, Owens Brockway (just east of map edge), and others.

These monitoring results do not include VOCs, which are a major pollutant from Porter Yett and other industries. The Cully Air Action Team is working to get VOC monitoring up for Summer 2016.

Thanks to our friends at Living Cully/Verde for help with this page.

The Porter W. Yett asphalt stench

Asphalt heaters and dryers at Porter Yett
Asphalt heaters and dryers at Porter Yett

While community members have made numerous complaints to the Oregon DEQ regarding foul and chemical odors in Cully, we have seen little real progress in addressing the mediation of such odors. Neither have we seen an accounting of the origin or monitoring of such odors. We, as residents of the Cully neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, are concerned that unregulated chemical releases may affect our long term health in a negative way as well as our short-term comfort. This is of special concern given our high population of children and elderly.

Perhaps the DEQ is unaware of the amount and nature of the chemicals being used. If so, please send them a message and document below on asphalt pollutants, (from http://www.ncair.org/toxics/asphalt/) Granted, this document only addresses toxic air pollutants related to the Porter Yett facility (5949 NE Cully Blvd.) but we hope it may spur on the DEQ to take a more responsive and transparent approach to protect the health of Cully residents. Other industries may be using similar TAPs, toluene and other PAHs yet there seems to be little information about how these TAPs are being addressed.

Cully, as a community within Oregon, is home to a very diverse and economically vulnerable population. We strongly believe that our complaints and concerns have systematically been ignored. Because of this, many of our residents may have become resigned to the fact that the air around us may be laced with known carcinogens. We are compelled to demand that the Oregon DEQ restrict Porter Yett and other TAP industries from polluting our air and endangering our health. We would further request increased monitoring and a listing of all known TAPs being used in industrial processes within 1000 feet of the Cully neighborhood boundaries. It is our deepest hope that DEQ will now focus its attention to protecting the people it is meant to serve. Please respond to this letter, and our health concerns, within 30 days.

from http://www.ncair.org/toxics/asphalt/
from http://www.ncair.org/toxics/asphalt/

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

Charting, monitoring and bettering air quality issues in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland.