At the beginning of 2020, Oregon PSR began a campaign to close the waste incinerator that has been in operation for 34 years in Brooks, Oregon, just north of Salem. This incinerator has been burning not only residential waste but also out-of-state medical waste which, when burned, releases toxic chemicals into the air that our communities breathe. Our work has continued despite the year-long struggles over COVID-19, wildfires, and, more recently, severe winter weather.Read more
Mass incarceration is a major public health issue in the United States. With over 2 million people currently incarcerated, the US leads the world by far in incarceration rates. The negative health impacts created by mass incarceration are present not only in prisons, but also in the communities that prisons are located and the communities where adults in custody come from, which are disproportionately lower income communities and communities of color.Read more
Mass incarceration is a major public health issue in the United States. With over 2 million people currently incarcerated, the US leads the world in incarceration rates. The negative health impacts created by mass incarceration are present not only in prisons, but also the communities that prisons are located in and the communities where adults in custody come from, which are disproportionately low income and communities of color.Read more
Thank You for Joining Us for Remembering Fukushima 10 Years Later: A Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Thanks so much for joining us for Remembering Fukushima 10 Years Later: A Film Screening & Panel Discussion. In case you missed any of the panel discussion webinar, or to watch it again, you can view video of the panel discussion here.
We were honored to have the filmmaker, Hitomi Kamanaka, along with panel members Norma Field, Ruiko Muto, and Leona Morgan, discuss the film and the disastrous impacts on communities from radioactive contamination released from the explosions at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima on March 11th, 2011. Our distinguished panelists also shared their thoughts on nuclear technologies, from uranium mining at the beginning of the nuclear cycle to the precarious and dangerous burial of nuclear wastes.Read more
Oregon PSR, alongside countless community organizations and community members, has been organizing to protect our health and safety from Zenith Energy, a local crude oil storage facility in Northwest Portland. Zenith is responsible for transporting and storing toxic, dangerous materials in and through our community via trains and ships.
Please join us in taking action by sending creative Valentine's Day break-up cards to Portland City Council this month. This spring, some permit renewals are due and the City of Portland has an opportunity to weigh in and possibly stop Zenith. We have three new City Council members (Dan Ryan, Mingus Mapps, and Carmen Rubio) who may not yet be fully informed about Zenith. Also, members who were persuaded to oppose Zenith in the past (Ted Wheeler and Jo Ann Hardesty) need to know how much we still care. So, let’s send all five Commissioners Valentine's Day break-up cards!
Tell Portland City Council to Break Up with Zenith!
Break out your pink and red construction paper - it’s time to make Valentine's Day breakup cards:
Sample messages (feel free to come up with your own):
Please be MY valentine, and break up with Zenith.
It’s a toxic relationship.
City of Roses, home to us all
People and salmon, trees that grow tall
Our river’s at risk, oil trains run amok
Please take some swift action, we must deconstruct.
Dear City Council:
Love and kisses!
Kick out Zenith.
No more near misses!
Drop your cards in the mail by the end of February to:
Mayor Ted Wheeler
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340
Portland, OR 97204
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 230
Portland, OR 97204
Commissioner Mingus Mapps
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 210
Portland, OR 97204
Commissioner Carmen Rubio
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 220
Portland, OR 97204
Commissioner Dan Ryan
1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Room 240
Portland, OR 97204
Thank you for taking action and telling Portland City Council to break up with Zenith!
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (Oregon DEQ) is in the early stages of creating a new greenhouse gas emissions program. The goal: a major decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s largest stationary sources. Noticeably absent from the program: fracked gas power plants.
The six largest single greenhouse gas polluters in Oregon are fracked gas power plants. Yet DEQ plans to exempt these facilities from regulation under its so-called “Climate Protection Program.” And, although one of DEQ’s top priorities is to alleviate burdens on environmental justice communities, the agency isn’t currently planning to study the community level data that would identify what these specific burdens are.
Please help us take action by contacting Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and tell them to correct course by covering Oregon’s biggest climate polluters and quantifying the impacts of pollution on frontline communities.
Subject Line: Oregon DEQ greenhouse gas rulemaking must cover fracked gas power plants and measure impacts to environmental justice communities
Sample email message:
Dear Governor Kate Brown, Director Richard Whitman, and Commissioners,
I am a member of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, a statewide nonprofit organization of health professionals and public health advocates. I have major concerns about the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s proposed 2021 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program. This so-called “Climate Protection Program” is poised to exempt the state’s largest greenhouse gas emitters from regulation—fracked gas power plants—and instead places the burden for achieving emissions reductions on smaller facilities. Excluding Oregon’s large polluters will result in an ineffectual program that cannot meet the state’s climate goals and ignores the significant health harms these facilities pose to frontline communities.
Additionally, one of Oregon DEQ’s stated goals is to “prioritize equity by promoting benefits and alleviating burdens for environmental justice and impacted communities,” yet the modeling Oregon DEQ plans to undertake will largely overlook the impacts to these communities. How can the agency expect to alleviate the burdens on frontline communities if it doesn’t have a firm understanding of exactly what those burdens are?
I strongly urge Oregon DEQ to reverse course now, before the rulemaking process proceeds much further. The agency simply cannot expect to develop a meaningful “Climate Protection Program” that protects frontline communities by exempting the largest climate polluters in the state and failing to thoroughly investigate the burdens on those communities. Oregon DEQ should cover fracked gas power plants and make measuring and eliminating the impacts on frontline communities—rural, low-income, coastal, and communities of color—the top priority.
In many ways, the state of Oregon has been at a crossroads: amid the unprecedented and traumatic crises of COVID-19, wildfires, and white supremacy, our state has been faced with choices between the status quo or a bold path forward towards a healthy and livable future. We cannot afford to go “back to normal” when “normal” wasn’t working for far too many people. Instead, our lawmakers have the opportunity to lay a foundation for a world where everyone is treated fairly, lives in a healthy home, and has a bright future.Read more
Oregon PSR and Oregon Justice Resource Center are continuing our discussion on mass incarceration and public health with regard to Oregon state prisons and adults in custody in Oregon. We are entering into our second year of working together to both better understand and better advocate for the health and well-being of adults in custody in Oregon state prisons.Read more
Pandemic. Racist violence. Wildfires and smoke. Recession. This year has tested us in a multitude of ways, while also giving us a snapshot of what lies ahead should we be unable to rise to the global challenge of mitigating the climate crisis.
All of us who care about public health are being called in this moment to work together for a livable future. It starts with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) being able to live without fear of being murdered or brutalized by the police. It includes addressing the fact that the brunt of environmental pollution is borne by communities of color and low-income Oregonians, who are more likely to live in the blast zones of oil trains or along busy roads with high concentrations of diesel particulate matter.Read more
Oregon PSR began this past May to advocate for Oregon state prisoners out of concerns relative to the COVID-19 pandemic and the dire consequences of a deadly outbreak in our state prisons. Since then, we’ve written several letters to the Governor’s office, which manages the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC), and have partnered with Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC) for the recent Mass Incarceration and Public Health webinar to better educate ourselves and others on the issues facing Oregon state prisons and the communities that live within them. We will be partnering with OJRC, which continues to advocate for prisoners around the state and provides resources regarding incarceration issues, for more webinars in the near future, including one on the intersections of climate change and mass incarceration.Read more