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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coming soon to that telephone pole outside your house

Cell phone antennas. The Portland City Council is about to adopt some new rules on these things, but of course, since the cell phone companies have bought off Congress with copious campaign contributions, federal law forbids cities from even thinking about the health effects of living next to them in deciding where they can go.

Portland's new regulations rely heavily on "priority maps," but try as I might to click around on the city web page on the subject, I can't find them. Any readers out there know where they might be found? And if they're not available on line, is that omission intentional? Not that the council would purposely avoid stirring up any neighbors...

Putting the antennas on utility poles all over the place is being billed as an alternative to those unsightly tall towers you see riding around town. But if it's a choice between having them on tall towers somewhere else or on a pole 20 feet from an infant child's nursery, I know what I choose.

UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Drafts of the maps are here, but they take forever to load.

Comments (15)

Here is a link to the draft dated 4/7/09:


The above posts refers to the draft of the "Wireless Street Priorities"

That link doesn't work, I'm afraid.

Here's an interesting document -- a proposed new city contract with one of the wireless carriers. It identifies four levels of priority for the antennas:

Priority 1 (freeways, highways, and streets in industrial areas)

Priority 2 (high traffic volumes)

Priority 3 (medium traffic volumes)

Priority 4 (low traffic volumes; residential streets)

No maps, though.

It works for me, but it does take a little while to load. (~17 MB PDF with 8 pages of maps.)

If you follow your link labeled "web page": http://www.portlandonline.com/cable/index.cfm?c=46289

It is currently document # 25 labeled "Street Priorities.Apr.07.draft"

(I emailed you a copy of it.)

If it's 17 megs, don't bother. My e-mail account won't accept it.

After several tries and waiting a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time, I finally got the draft maps to download. It would be nice if the city would post the proposed final maps, and in several different files so that they would be more redaily accessible.

I know they put one on the corner of Greely and Killingsworth a few months back, right above Yogo's Bar. Now your braincells will die slightly quicker.

The City probably expects you to protect Junior by the simple expedient of enveloping the nursery in a Gaussian Cage - watch for the appointment of PERS-eligible sustainable Gaussian Cage Bureaucrats, to be selected from the journalists doing the best work on the Creepster's lies.

"But if it's a choice between having them on tall towers somewhere else or on a pole 20 feet from an infant child's nursery, I know what I choose."

Easy, put it on a pole near your house. RF waves, like all electromagnetic waves follow the inverse square law. This means twice as far away gives 1/4 the power. A side effect of this means if you have a big transmitter, there is much more variablity over the coverage zone. For example, a TV or radio tower on council crest is cooking the heck out of everyone within a mile while people in Hillsboro are merely lukewarm. The final piece of the puzzle is that cell phones are two way. Unlike TV, a weaker broadcast signal received also means a way stronger return signal to get back. Thus, the people in Hillsboro are merely lukewarm on the receiving end, but are cooking themselves in their own transmit power. It's best to even it out, so you get medium transmit and medium receive power everywhere and no-one gets cooked. If you're worried about health effects of RF radiation or even if you just want better coverage, the best thing is to spread around the transmitters and receivers as densely as possible. It sounds like just what they are doing.

The best reason I can see to oppose this is because we've already wired the city once for landlines at great expense. Rewiring the city again for cell is arguably throwaway money.

Easy, put it on a pole near your house.

Er, no thanks. If it's between a higher power antenna a half-mile away and a lower power antenna next to my house, I'll take the former.

I am quite perplexed by this need to be able to talk to people under any and all circumstances.

Nowadays, the person with whom you are conversing could be sitting on the toilet, walking down the street, or laying in the gutter. Why is it people feel this need? I certainly don't. Most of the phone calls I get on my land line are sales calls...annoying sales calls...or surveys...annoying surveys.

I guess if you're a drug dealer, it's a pretty good deal. You don't have to look suspicious hanging out at public phone booths.

Most of the people I've overheard using a cellphone don't use it for the vast number of faux "emergencies" they deal with. Did you know that not knowing the right type of buttwipe to buy at the store is an "emergency"? Or, that confirming tickets to the opera is somehow an "emergency".

So far as I can tell, of the thousands who own and use a cell phone, only a miniscule portion actually use it as a working tool. As for the rest, it is merely status, show and a way to accidentally impose morbidity and mortality upon the unwitting.

As for me, I try to escape to the unwired for rest, relaxation and recreation. The last thing I want is a phone call from some marketing researcher or sleazy politician's sycophant to interrupt my reveries.

"So far as I can tell, of the thousands who own and use a cell phone, only a miniscule portion actually use it as a working tool. As for the rest, it is merely status, show and a way to accidentally impose morbidity and mortality upon the unwitting."

And an even smaller and more miniscule portion even know the proper etiquette of use...which they probably were provided when they obtained the phone. If they did, and users actually followed the recommendations, I'm quite sure that a huge proportion of the typical uses of cell phones would not occur.

Just look it up on Google some time..."cell phone etiquette". Somehow, way too many people seem to lose all their intelligence and consideration once they have a cell phone in their hands.

To those cell phone users of you who know the etiquette and follow it...thank you. At least I didn't have to hear about your personal or family drama. I appreciate that.

Perhaps the city should take on the task of building and supporting this network. It's bound to fail; ergo, problem solved.

If I'm not mistaken, the OTHER reason the federal government prohibited health issues from being used to deny cell tower aplications is that there was no credible medical evidence that the emissions from cell towers had any health effects on individuals. There has since been some evidence that use of cell PHONES may have some impacts on the human head, but the proximity is exponentially greater than a cell tower.

Does anyone have evidence (other than junk science) that cell towers have been found to have harmful health effects?

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