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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 21, 2012 8:43 AM. The previous post in this blog was Your Portland water bill may be coming from India soon. The next post in this blog is Sam Rand swan song: stinko development deals. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

There's no money for West Hayden Island guilt trip

One of the misleading aspects of the city and Port of Portland's plan to pave over wildlife habitat on West Hayden island is the promise that the damage to the environment can somehow be "mitigated." Opponents of the proposed redundant shipping terminal on West Hayden wisely point out that the destruction of one of the last large parcels of open space in town can't be compensated for by setting up little strips of greenway sprinkled here and there:

The city talks of mitigation for West Hayden Island: the idea that the acreage and wildlife sanctuary lost here can simply be given back somewhere else. But as Audubon Society conservation director Bob Sallinger told the commission at last night's hearing, "Little pieces do not make a whole." We can't set aside thin strips of riverbank, or stitch together patches of trees here and there, and call it proper wildlife protection.

Now another critic raises an additional point: Part of the fake "mitigation" plan apparently hinges on the city's cash-strapped parks bureau somehow finding money for new parks and trails:

Adams' proposal includes:

- $12.6 million for environmental enhancements on Government Island, which sits under Portland International Airport's flight path.
- $8 million in grants to the Bureau of Environmental Services to buy and enhance additional wildlife habitat, perhaps on Sauvie Island.
- $3.6 million to the Portland Housing Bureau to assist residents of a mobile home park on Hayden Island with home weatherization and other improvements.
- $3 million for a new recreational park on East Hayden Island.
- $2.8 million for trail development and a park endowment on West Hayden Island.
- $2.6 million for a community fund

Folks, the parks bureau has resorted to borrowing money to pay for routine maintenance on the parks it's already operating. To think that it's going to have funds available to do the Port's "mitigation" is laughable. Even if it were handed the old Thunderbird Hotel land for free, which seems improbable, the parks bureau can't afford to set up new parks and trails, or to maintain them.

Comments (8)

According to this piece of tortured logic from Gary Oxman, the health benefits of the new trails and parks will more than make up for the health impacts of the new terminal on the residents of Hayden Island.

“The negative health impacts for the most part occur locally to the existing population. The benefits to the community are mostly on a regional scale. So how do we balance that equity consideration there?"

Words, words, words, Adams can propose to "make it look good" so he can plow this through by promises he won't have to fulfill. (40 days left)
What would these politicians do without that ubiquitous word "mitigation?"

The “health impact analysis” conducted by Multnomah County officials found that air toxics would likely increase under the Port of Portland's plans to develop 300 acres on the island. But the analysis also found some health benefits, if trails and parks are created elsewhere on the island.

How healthy will walking on these trails be then if the air toxics would likely increase?
How toxic is the air presently in our "green" city? I think some numbers on our air quality from our county health officer would be helpful.

Gary Oxman is a county health officer and a member of the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

“The negative health impacts for the most part occur locally to the existing population. The benefits to the community are mostly on a regional scale. So how do we balance that equity consideration there?"

In my opinion, beware of any mention of the word regional! I believe this word will become the next ubiquitous term our community will be hearing. This reduces and/or eliminates the people's local control of matters or the concern for the local people based on "benefits" to the region. Will we be told we have little say because it is for the regional benefit? What benefits to the region and who benefits?

As for the proposed remedies in Sam's plan:

- $12.6 million for environmental enhancements on Government Island *which is only accessible via watercraft (motorized or paddled)

- $8 million in grants to the Bureau of Environmental Services to buy and enhance additional wildlife habitat, perhaps on Sauvie Island *one trusts the city will finance appropriate signs to direct wildlife to specific sites on Sauvie Island

- $3.6 million to the Portland Housing Bureau to assist residents of a mobile home park on Hayden Island with home weatherization and other improvements *again, this fund is of great benefit to wildlife (not!)

- $3 million for a new recreational park on East Hayden Island *perhaps a nice green lawn will entice Canada Geese to graze there

- $2.8 million for trail development and a park endowment on West Hayden Island. *wildlife will need more signs to warn them of rogue bicyclists et all on these spiffy trails

- $2.6 million for a community fund *Sheesh—this is very specific (not!)

Among other things, it seems as if the SamRand twins are waving their Influence Wands with regal might...just before they leave office. They must be trying to bestow favors in hope of getting plum jobs in the "normal" world. (Sidebar: I can't recall if Sam and Randy have ever held real (i.e., non-governmental) jobs.

This is truly a case of elected officials forgetting they were elected and imagining, instead, that they were annointed!

in my inbox today, from Sam Adams: "Pursuing a Win-Win for West Hayden Island", I find this amusing gem:

"Those interested in the environment will see 500 acres on the island (about 420 Port-owned acres) permanently protected from development. The City will apply an accepted environmental services model to ensure that the 300 acres of development is mitigated at 110% of impacts blah blah"

oh thank you Sam, a consolation prize for the few fringe folks out there actually "concerned about the environment". That wasn't pandering, now was it? Who writes this garbage for him?

and this: "We either get it done this year, or we work to prepare a very solid handoff to the next City Council. Either way, the question about the future of West Hayden Island must be answered soon."

Must it, Sam? Must it? And if it is so urgent as to require immediate action, please tell me why it is so urgent.

The Mayor says he wants a "robust" public process but he developed this proposal behind closed doors and waited until the very last public advisory committee to release the details, a day before the holidays, and six days before the second Planning Commission Hearing. He has rejected requests to slow down the process by even a few weeks to allow for a real review and is intent on ramming it through to adoption in less than five weeks. That is a strategy to marginalize the public and which heavily favors the well-funded, well-connected industrial lobbyists. The Citizen Advisory Committee rejected his proposal today after expressing strong concern about the way the process was being handled. The vote was 5 (opposed) to 3 (could live with it but would like to see modifications) to 1 (supporting). Notably 2 environmental representatives were not able to vote or it could have been even worse for the Mayor (one was absent a I resigned back in June, when the city first attempted to railroad this process.) Hardly a "win-win" and one hell of a way to do business. For those wanting to track WHI issues more closely friend the "save West Hayden Island" facebook page. We will need a lot of support over the next few weeks to stop this steamroller.

Bob Sallinger


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