In 2017, as a part of a sweeping transportation infrastructure package, the Oregon Department of Transportation made plans to widen the Rose Quarter Interstate 5 freeway.
However, the project has wide-spread criticism from residents of Portland with several climate justice organizations actively fighting against the freeway expansion.
The Getting There Together Coalition, founded to support equitable transportation in the Portland area, has been actively fighting against the expansion for the past four years.
Nearly half of Oregon's carbon emissions come from the transportation sector and increasing the space for cars on an already busy thoroughfare will exponentially worsen the air pollution in Portland. Because of the 'induced demand' phenomenon (in which more people take advantage of transportation infrastructure because of greater access to it), there would be an increase in exhaust in the air and carbon emissions. But instead of being stuck in traffic, Oregonians can put their money towards greener forms of transportation like light rail to Vancouver.
When the I-5 corridor was established through the heart of Albina in 1962, Black homes and livelihoods were uprooted and replaced with motor traffic, gas stations and asphalt.
Today, the predominantly Black Harriet Tubman Middle School stands directly beside the Rose Quarter freeway and would be the epicenter of the environmental impacts of this project. With a greater number of cars belching exhaust into the Tubman playground, the effects of poorer air quality will be felt by young people of color first and worst.
In our city middle and high school students, particularly those of color, are consistently sidelined by poor funding and inadequate resources. As a student in Portland who works in environmental advocacy through Our Climate, I find it deeply disturbing that ODOT is even considering this project.
Going forward with the freeway expansion would be throwing millions of Oregon tax dollars at a project that would create more problems than it solves.
As the climate crisis threatens to become irreversible with every passing year, it is more important than ever that we prevent racial inequity being furthered by projects like the Rose Quarter I-5 expansion.
Our Climate field adviser
Portland has many child care deserts
The most important things in my life are my kids. Like so many, I want my kids to live in a different world than right now, cooped up staying safe.
So many in our community are desperate for simple necessities like food, shelter, and financial stability.
Another necessity is child care. I was forced out of the workforce in 2018 because I couldn't afford childcare, plus the waiting lists were over a year-long for anything. We live in a severe child care desert in Portland, as anyone who has ever looked for care here will tell you. I started working on self-employment, building a business, and as a full-time mom.
The pandemic has left me unemployed as I care for my children full time. I feel stuck, fatigued, depressed, and anxious to figure it out. It's an uphill battle for parents and caregivers, and we need help. Many great centers have closed and those around have had to raise rates, take personal loans, and are going without an income. The community has reached its capacity & needs help.
A broken system is exceptionally worse during a pandemic. We need to rebuild our child care supply to support Oregon's economic recovery because, without it, parents can't work. Oregon's lawmakers need to make this a priority.
Nicola Van Hoff
Give the homeless what they need to stay healthy
In your June 2 opinion piece in the Tribune you say: "The cities recent decision on camp removal is a positive sign."
I disagree with that statement. If you move them from one spot they go to another and so on. This is just harassment of people that are already down.
I understand that building affordable housing takes time but these people need help now not harassment. What about this idea.
From my understanding the city has land. Let us say the city takes 10 or 15 pieces of land. Take that land and give each homeless person a small plot and at that site have toilets, showers, trash collection and laundry — the things people need to stay healthy mentally or physically and survive.
This will make it easier for people with drug addiction to kick it, people with mental illness to get better or for people to plan get a job. This can be done a lot quicker than building housing.
Mayor isn't the only problem at City Hall
The misguided recall effort against Mayor Wheeler is not focusing on the real problem with Portland: The current form of city government.
If these so-called progressive activists want to succeed in their meaningful goals they should spend their time, energy and money replacing Portland's unsuccessful form of government, not the mayor.
This recall effort is just an extension of mean-spirited civic demonization that seems to have been fueled another City Council member who needs no introduction.
Don't let Alpenrose property opportunity 'get away'
Growing up in Portland in a modest single family home on a street where about half of the homes on the block had kids in the same age bracket, we would play games in the street and have Monopoly tournaments under the trees in our backyards.
With tuna cans for cups, my neighbor and I even had a six-hole golf course crisscrossing our adjoining front yards where we used plastic golf balls and a kid size three iron and putter.
Today with density, the streets are too busy for games and housing advocates want every square inch of available land to be built up with multi-family housing. To reduce gun violence and provide activities for kids, the Portland City Council has pledged millions of dollars to social service organizations.
Providing compatible terra firma infrastructure that everybody can use must also be part of that commitment. Some of the infrastructure should include the Alpenrose Dairy property with its ball fields and other amenities. As center stage for past Little League World Series events, the property is well suited for use by the people of Portland from all neighborhoods.
Similar to what was done to purchase the Pittock Mansion in the 1960s, a fundraising effort needs to take place for a public purchase of this property.
Instead of just paying large sums of money to privileged star athletes to promote products, Nike, Adidas and other local sports related companies should also significantly help out by chipping in with large financial contributions.
Fishermen always talk about the big one that got away. If the Alpenrose Dairy property isn't saved for public use, it will be the big one the city let get away.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.