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These Southeast seniors may be aging in place, but they remain energized by current topics of concern

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - At the door of the Eastside Village office at Trinity United Methodist Church on Steele Street is Judy Ringenson - a member of the EV Climate Crisis Crew. She has also been on the Eastside Village Council since the nonprofits inception, five years ago.A small committee of people who are members of the nonprofit Eastside Village – the intergenerational community of neighbors who help older residents "age in place" – have been alarmed by the signs that climate change has reached Oregon: The recent massive wildfires, the milder average winters and consistently warmer summers – and the virtual end of deeper winter snows, silver thaws, and iced-over bodies of water in winter. Indeed, they conclude, the weather in Southeast Portland has become more like Central California used to be, while temperatures rise to alarming levels and rainfall events become more uncommon in the Golden State to the south.

So, calling themselves the "Climate Crisis Crew" (CCC), the group of a dozen people from Eastside Village have formed to conduct regular meetings, and, as one puts it, "to fulfill our longings to protect the world not only for our grandchildren, but for all the peoples and species of the earth, especially those most vulnerable."

Their first meeting took place just one year ago this month. Agreeing that they wanted to decide what they could do and how to involve other individuals and nonprofits, they set goals and formed three education and action-oriented teams: The Carbon Team; the Plastics Team; and the Tree Team.

These teams meet independently of the larger group to educate themselves; and the whole group holds monthly meetings on the second Saturday of each month, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Members Lucien Dallaire, Marnie McPhee, and Terry Dion are particularly concerned about air pollution. At a recent presentation by Mary Peveto, founder and co-director of Neighbors for Clean Air, they learned that in 2015 the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality reported that Multnomah County then ranked fourth worst nationwide for exposure to "diesel particulates", a known carcinogen, although it remains lower than average for many other pollutants that bedevil other large cities.

The diesel particulates are a problem here mostly because California and Washington have outlawed use of older "dirty diesel" trucks, all of which have been sold into Oregon – mainly the Portland metropolitan area – because Oregon has yet to make a similar rule, and the State Legislature so far shows no signs of adopting one. Since Portland area fleets of trucks are the worst offenders, a local nonprofit called "Portland Clean Air" is directly negotiating with these companies to mitigate the effects of these trucks, with some success.

The Eastside Village "Carbon Team" continues to study air contaminants, and recommends the "Neighbors for Clean Air" website as a source for more information on diesel particulates – http://www.whatsinourair.org/the-issue

For more information on Eastside Village itself, the office for which is located at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3915 S.E. Steele Street – and for an archive of the nonprofit's monthly "aging in place" newsletters, go online – http://www.eastsidevillage.org


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