This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 26, 2002 12:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Happy birthday to the East Bank Esplanade. The next post in this blog is This week's great ideas from the Bush White House. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, July 26, 2002

Ugly, ugly, ugly

The Portland City Council has approved a plan to allow cell phone companies to jack up utility pole heights by 10 to 20 feet and stick cell antennas on top of them. As if the proliferation of cell antennas wasn't already a visual blight all over the city and region. As if utility poles weren't already the city's no. 1 eyesore. To say nothing of the fact that the jury is still out on the health effects of prolonged exposure to this type of microwave radiation. Or the fact that the city is supposed to revisit cell antenna siting issues in an organized way in 2003. By then, we will have scores of unsightly and possibly dangerous pole antennas to deal with. Once they're up, they'll never come down. So much for the review. And so much for the hope that the tangle of wires already cluttering Portland residents' views will ever be taken underground, where they belong. You can't bury a cell antenna.

Leave it to the Portland council to rush right out and give the cell people a bigger piece of the public right of way. I'm sure they will repay the favor come campaign contribution time.

Oh yes, I know, the city isn't supposed to consider health issues -- the vigilant watchdogs at the FCC are in charge of that, and everything's peachy there. And the cell companies are bitching that the city's fees are too high, so that must mean this is a great middle-of-the-road approach.

There was another path, folks. We could have decided that enough is enough, and that the providers will just have to make do with the many ugly sites they have already inflicted upon us.

The cliché offered by this dirty little industry is, "Everyone wants a cell phone, but nobody wants the antennas." You know what? Mostly everyone thinks there is a balance to be struck somewhere between instant communication and visual blight, and between instant communication and health risks. It may be that not everyone who wants a cell phone will be able to afford one because the antennas are unsafe, ugly, or both, and the number of cells is therefore limited.

There are supposedly 175,000 cell phones in Portland. Maybe that's enough.

Clicky Web Analytics