W. Hayden Island process "complete sellout of the environment"
The activists who have been opposing the pave-over of bald eagle habitat for a proposed Port of Portland shipping terminal on West Hayden Island are madder than ever now that they've had a little time to digest the hundreds of pages that were dumped on the public last week, with the usual rush-rush timeframe, by the powers that be. Even the most rudimentary cost-benefit analysis shows that the costs of the proposal are high -- both to humans and to wildlife -- and the benefits are dubious. Among the costs:
• Air Pollution Impacts on the Local Community: North Portland currently has the highest levels of diesel emissions in the state -- approximately 20 times the public health standard. A West Hayden Island Marine Industrial facility would add to the existing high-risk conditions by bringing idling ships, trucks, and trains close to at-risk communities. It would potentially add significant particulate matter to our air from grain and other bulk material terminals.
• Lack of a Health Impact Assessment: Despite repeated requests and more than four years of public process, the City and the Port have not performed the most basic analysis of the potential health impacts of the development on local communities. With millions of public dollars invested in the process to ensure the Port’s needs are met, the health, environment, and livability concerns of North Portland communities are ignored continually and completely by avoiding a Health Impact Assessment.
• Transportation and Road Infrastructure Impacts: The new facility would add an additional car to the local road network on average every 20 seconds and an additional truck every 2.8 minutes. The City is proposing to convert North Hayden Island Drive into a major truck route. Cost estimates for new road infrastructure range from $30 million to $100 million in public financing----at a time when the city cannot afford to fill potholes. In addition, the transportation analysis assumes that the CRC will be built as planned as of January 2012---A dubious proposition at best.
• Turning West Hayden Island Into a Contaminated Waste Dump: The Port has already begun filling West Hayden Island floodplains with contaminated materials from the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. Approval of industrial development will bring additional millions of cubic yards of contaminated fill to Hayden Island.
• Loss of an Irreplaceable Natural Area: West Hayden Island is a jewel in our local system of natural areas. Bald eagles nest right in the middle of the area that the Port would convert to parking lots. The Port of Portland continues to reject any reasonable mitigation package to compensate for the loss of this treasure.
On the benefits side:
The ECONorthwest Reports confirm that there is adequate land in Vancouver to meet regional port development needs. Rather than building duplicative facilities that will sit half empty and lose public money, political leaders should insist that the Columbia River Ports work together to develop approaches that will avoid destroying important wildlife areas and local communities.
Think the Goldschmidt people are listening? Of course not.