“Thank you City Council. My name is Mia Reback and I am here today to speak on behalf of 350PDX, The Center for the Sustainable Economy, and the Climate Action Coalition in support of amendments #P43 and #P56 to add policies to reduce carbon emissions and limit fossil fuel distribution to the comprehensive plan.
From 1974-1991 I worked on assembly lines at General Electric Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky. I hired in right at the end of the post WWII economic boom. In 1974 there were over 24,000 people working at Appliance Park. By 1991 that number had shrunk to about 6,000. Like many at the low end of the seniority list, I had a wild ride in and out of GE due to business cycle boom and bust, robots, outsourcing, and production shifts from one GE factory to another.
The last time I was called back from a layoff, I worked on a refrigerator compressor line, testing for leaks before they filled the system with Freon. This was in the late 1980s while the Montreal Protocol to Protect the Ozone Layer was being negotiated. Of course, Freon, an efficient and safe-to-handle refrigerant, was also the most prominent ozone-depleting chemical. It was disorienting to know this and to experience the nearly total silence on the issue at work. Once it was clear that Freon had to be replaced, GE claimed it had to redesign certain components and retool some of the manufacturing process. The company challenged the union to meet or beat what it would cost to make those parts somewhere else. The union kept the work but with a plan that used fewer workers. By that time, I had moved on to the washer/dryer building, been laid off yet again, moved back to Massachusetts where I grew up, and gone back to school. Read more
The City of Portland is updating its 2035 Comprehensive Plan, a long-range 20-year plan that sets the framework for the physical development of the city. Four years in the making, City Council will adopt the plan on June 15th. Unlike many other plans, Comprehensive Plans are legally binding plans required by Oregon land use law. The 2035 plan provides a host of policies and tools that will be necessary in ensuring a just transition from the fossil fuel economy.
Comp Plan Amendments:
Mayor Hales is proposing amendments to add the fossil fuel policy and climate action into the City’s Comprehensive Plan! Now we just need to show our support to make sure they get added into the final Comp Plan.
I stand on the shores of the Willamette River, on sandy rocks that were underwater during the winter rains. The Scouler’s willows are full again. The salmonberries have deep pink flowers. The air smells like cottonwood pollen, a scent so inextricably tied to the river that I can’t smell one without thinking of the other.
I’ve known the river nearly all my life. When I was a child we played on its banks, sitting in the sun, climbing on the rock cliffs. One winter a thin sheet of ice formed on it, and we marveled at its fragility, how, in the pale light before sunset, spider web cracks already glistened along its edges. We dared only to tap the ice with our fingertips and ran, laughing, into the snow. Read more