Urban Geography of Environmental Justice and the Social Determinants of Health

An interview with Oregon PSR Board Member Patricia Kullberg, MD, MPH

OPSR had the pleasure of speaking with one of our board members, Patricia Kullberg MD, MPH to learn more about the social determinants of health, a modern lens to approach public health by taking into consideration intersectional factors that contextualize health issues within a given community. Join us as Patricia debunks the old fashioned “bad genes, bad behavior, and bad luck” philosophy and begin to understand how underserved communities experience disproportionate health disparities through social determinants.

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Pacific Power 2024 Rate Increase

This year, Pacific Power is trying to raise rates by 21.6% for Oregon households. A typical household could see an average increase of $29.47 each month. This amount would be much higher during the winter months and summer months when heaters or air conditioners are turned on.

Pacific Power’s proposed increase is largely from wildfire-related costs. After the court ruled the company was grossly negligent in the 2020 Labor Day fires, Pacific Power has consistently made moves to pass liability costs onto customers. The Oregon Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will be closely analyzing this request to ensure the company is held financially responsible for wildfire liability.

Utility customers across the state are feeling the impacts of higher energy bills. CUB is working hard in this case to make some big changes to how regulators handle these requests from utility companies.

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Northwest Natural 2024 Rate Increase

NW Natural Asks for 18% Rate Increase

This could mean customers pay over 50% more for gas bills than in 2020.

This year, NW Natural is asking to raise rates by 18% for residential customers. Overall, customers could see an increase of $169.68 per year. With the proposed increase, winter bills alone would go up $22.73 a month for an average household. Customers could face an average heating bill of $150 per month next winter. 

To learn more check out the Oregon Citizens Utility Board Website

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Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Conference 2024

Last month, our Program Assistant Samantha Paladini attended the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Conference, where members from all over North America met in Oakland, CA at the Sonesta Hotel to discuss climate justice issues around incineration, zero waste, plastic, and climate.

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Making the Unseen Visible Science and the Contested Histories of Radiation Exposure

OPSR is excited to highlight our member Linda Richard’s newest book, Making the Unseen Visible, where she uncovers the stories of how people’s health and the environment has been affected by nuclear fallout and radiation. Learn about colonial nuclear testing in North Africa to uranium mining in the Navajo Nation and battles over public memory around Hanford in Linda’s collection of community and scholarly work. Just as radiation is invisible, many of these stories continue to be unseen, intentionally hidden by governmental powers around the world. 

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Oregon's Hidden Air Pollution Problem: Fossil Fuels in Buildings

Oregon has a fossil fuel problem that is close to home. In fact, it is in our homes. Thanks to a new report we know that burning fossil fuels for heating and water heating creates as much dangerous Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) as the states cement manufacturing and power generation combined. Nitrogen Oxide along with the fine particulate matter (PM2.5), benzene formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide (CO) created from burning gas and propane dirty the air that we breathe both indoors and outside, and increase the risk of health harms like asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. 

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Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Small Modular Reactors, NuScale, and the Dangers in Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy dates back to 1945, when the U.S dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The same chemical reactions that killed hundreds of thousands of people were used to develop nuclear reactors to produce domestic electricity starting in 1951. Nuclear disasters at plants in Chernobyl and Fukushima raised concerns around safety regulations and the risk of natural disasters. To gain the financial support of the nuclear industry and the U. S. Department of Energy, small modular reactors swooped in claiming that they’ll provide cheap, clean, and safe energy to revitalize and support nuclear investments. In this post, we’ll be discussing what small modular reactors are, who is building them in the U.S., and why they are not “cheap, clean, and safe ways to produce energy.” 

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Shinkolobwe: Uranium Mining and its Legacy

Artist: Roger Peet

Anti-nuclear sentiment seems to be disappearing with the lack of cold war fear mongering, but movies like Oppenheimer and artists like Roger Peet are proof that the history and consequences of atomic destruction are still on people’s minds. Granted, Hollywood chose to skim the surface on a topic that Peet manages to highlight with genuine dedication, critical thought, and a block of wood and ink. With mindful consideration of the communities left victim of colonialism, nuclear bomb testing, and harmful health effects from the detonation, Roger Peet’s work uplifts the history of uranium mining in the Congo, and how the planet and people have been impacted by the pollutive and dangerous nature of nuclear waste. 

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2023 Accomplishments

2023 was a challenging and beautiful year in which we were able to accomplish so much thanks to the dedication of our members, staff and allies. We are forever grateful to all of you who make our work possible through your time, donations, and knowledge. 

Read on to learn about just some of the many things we were able to do this year.

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Update on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

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