In times of crisis it can feel helpful to go back to the origins of the word. “Crisis” comes from the greek “krinein,” meaning, among other things, “to decide.” It’s a fork in the road, and a decision – or thousands of little decisions – that must be made.
Who do we want to be at the end of this pandemic? For 350PDX, the answer is a society more compassionate, connected, and united than ever. A society that understands that the liberation of each individual is bound with the liberation of everyone. A society that has been shown just how quickly massive social change can happen, and is ready to accept that saving millions of lives, bringing about economic justice, and ending the climate crisis, is worth it.
This society is not inevitable. It will take tireless work, and thousands of little decisions to get there. But if we stand together – in solidarity with the vulnerable, the immuno-compromised, the elderly, the workers losing their jobs, those being threatened with eviction, the houseless folks with nowhere else to go, healthcare employees working around the clock in frightening conditions – then we will get through this stronger than ever. (We recommend reading this article from Paul Engler of This is an Uprising: Coronavirus is a historic trigger event — and it needs a movement to respond.)
There are multiple interconnected crises happening simultaneously – among them a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and the ongoing climate crisis. Our healthcare system is under immense stress and we should all physically socially distance if we are able. Current public health efforts are directed at flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases, but poverty and racism have been and continue to be pandemics, and we must flatten the curves of inequity and oppression with the same urgency. We have a key moment to do so and we must act swiftly to address immediate and exacerbated needs that result from the current emergency and increasingly unstable economic situation.
Here’s some ways we can all help.
Do you need support?
Our biggest priority right now is making sure folks in the 350PDX community can get the support they need. Please use this form if you would like food and other supplies delivered to you. It is being run by an all-volunteer grassroots network that has sprung up to provide mutual aid across the city.
This list of resources was compiled and is being updated by Congressman Earl Blumenauer and his team in Portland, Oregon. Everything from food access, to shelters, to utilities and rent resources, resources for students, workers and businesses, crisis hotlines, and more.
- We at 350PDX are mobilizing fast to figure out what we can do with the resources we have to support others in this time. Let us know what other support would be useful! Also let us know if you know of other resources we should be sharing on this newsletter! Email email@example.com.
Actions you can take to support people in our community right now
To provide the support requested in the form mentioned above they need help! They are focusing on providing and delivering food and supplies for anyone who needs it, with priority towards folks who are sick, unhoused, disabled, quarantined without pay, elderly, undocumented, queer, refugees and immigrants, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer, including those displaced from Portland to the nearby areas. If you’re looking for something hands on to do right now to support your fellow community members then this is a good place to start.
Sign a share the petition for ‘Relief from Rents, Mortgages, Sweeps and a Request for Universal Basic Income’
The crisis around housing instability and houselessness continue to grow exponentially to new and worrying levels. Today, many of our citizens are sleeping in their cars and on the streets at this troubling time. This is both a crisis in its own right, and is also adding the health crisis with houseless folks having inadequate access to sanitation like showers, bathrooms, handwashing sinks, or any other hygiene supplies to support basic cleanliness.
With over 3,000 members already, this support group is to help coordinate mutual aid in the Portland region during COVID-19. It provides the latest in local news, opportunities to support workers, online community events, and a place to ask for help.
With so many people needing help, many will fall through the cracks of the above forms and Facebook groups. An additional way to offer support is to get hyper-local and connect with your neighbors. While we shouldn’t be interacting physically with each other right now, here’s a letter you can copy and adapt, and put in the mailboxes of the folks on your street. This way your neighbors can share resource like painkillers, cleaning products, toilet paper, pre-cooked meals, or share human connection, for example checking in on elderly residents, or offering support to teach kids now that schools are closed.
- These networks are so important to build and are crucial whether we’re in a pandemic, an earthquake, a wildfire smoke emergency, a citywide snow shutdown, or for engaging your community in long term climate action.
Action 350PDX is taking
Statewide we’re co-signatories on this letter (which I highly recommend reading if you have a moment), advocating for unemployment/worker protections, assistance programs, housing stability, technology access, job creation and wealth-building for communities, changes to utilities, transportation, and more.
Federally we’re joining hundreds of other organizations advocating for 5 Principles for Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus (read them here)
Locally within our city we’re rapidly building new relationships with organizations, figuring out where our energy and resources are best used to help our community get through this crisis, while building people power across the city so we emerge from this crisis stronger and more progressive as we started it. There’s a lot more work to be done, and we’re in this with you all together.
A whole lot happened today in the campaign to #StopJordanCove! In the morning, amidst a global public health crisis, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) still voted to conditionally approve the disastrous pipeline and export terminal project, ignoring over 40,000 comments from Oregonians to issue a denial. But the project still can’t move forward without state permits, and the company has zero of the state permits they need. Then, Pembina filed an order to overturn one of Oregon’s major permit denials, and then Senator Ron Wyden (finally) came out in opposition to the project! Whew. What a day. You can read all about it from the Power Past Fracked Gas Coalition here. – Tell Senator Wyden Thank You for Joining Oregonians in Opposing Jordan Cove LNG!
- – React/Comment/Share social media posts from our allies in Southern Oregon:
- We’re never giving up until we stop this project once and for all! Here’s what you can right now to support this campaign:
Being stuck at home could be a good chance to get yourself some new climate activism skills. Dozens of trainings from ‘Having Climate Change Conversations’ to ‘Intro to Campaigning’ to ‘Climate Change Science 101’. Check them out, and let me know if you found one particularly useful and inspiring! We’ll have a lot more action for folks to do at home very soon!
Naomi Klein captures the dangers, but also the possible opportunities that could come from this crisis better than we at 350PDX could ever do. Warning – this video is pretty scary for the first 6 minutes, but the hope at the end is worth it.
Comment deadline extended – Climate Emergency Declaration
The City of Portland has extended its deadline by a week for public comments on the draft Climate Emergency Declaration. This is a further chance to have our voices heard, and a good opportunity for people to engage in the public process from home. Check out the draft declaration here, draw inspiration from 350PDX’s comments here, and submit your comments here. Comments now due Sunday March 22 11:59pm.
The Oregon Transportation Commission is using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to forgo live, public testimony at their upcoming meeting in which they intend to vote on approving the Environmental Assessment for the $800m Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. While Governor Brown is surely pretty busy right now, we cannot let the pandemic and economic crisis be a smokescreen to allow groups to worsen the climate crisis. More info and ways to take action here.
Right now having a focus on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) is more important than ever. The climate crisis goes on, and we need to keep focus on our campaigns. But going back to the reason we fight for climate justice – that we want to end the suffering, oppression and secure a bright future for all – means that we cannot ignore the current health and economic crises. Ensuring that justice and equity permeate through every aspect of our organization is the focus of the JEDI committee. Apply to join here!
- Rivers, Forests, Health, and Climate: Say No to Jordan Cove
RIGHT NOW Thurs Mar 19, 7:00PM – 9:00PM @ Online at this link -> https://zoom.us/j/653212070
As we face the climate emergency, we need to stop expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure, but here in Oregon there is a 229-mile natural gas pipeline and export terminal that is slated to be built and exporting fracked gas by 2024. Please join the Great Old Broads for Wilderness to learn about the many reasons to fight the Jordan Cove Energy Project. At this event Francis Eatherington, former Conservation Director for Cascadia Wildlands and impacted landowner on the fracked gas pipeline, will explain how local communities that would be affected by the project are fighting against this threat to their land, their water, and our public forests. Damon Motz-Storey from Physicians for Social Responsibility will also talk about the potential impacts of this project on climate change and human health. At the end we’ll have a Q&A about the project, talk about the most recent developments, and tell you how you can help stop the Jordan Cove Energy Project. I’m sending this email after 7pm, but hopefully they’ll post a recording on the Facebook page.
- Online Film Premiere – Hike the Divide: A Conversation about Climate Action on the Continental Divide Trail
Thurs Mar 26 @ OnlinePlease fill out this form whether you intend to watch on that evening or not. Details re: logistics are in the description of the form.” More info about the film here.
- This film comes from previous 350PDX volunteer Connor DeVane. “I was planning on releasing the film around the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but given the circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I pushed the date ahead nearly a month so y’all could watch while practicing physical distancing. That means I’m giving up a lot of time to promote the film, so I’m hoping you can help me out by watching Hike the Divide the evening of March 26th. The idea is to emulate a live premiere by getting as many folks as possible to commit to watching on the same evening. If you’re going to be stuck at home, you may as well cozy up with a narrative of hope and agency, some sublime mountain vistas and a glorious soundtrack, right?”
Thank you all for the work that you do, stay safe, and we’re all in this together,
Chris – 350PDX Volunteer & Communications Manager