Portland’s Worst Polluters Bike Ride

DSC_0227On Wednesday evening, June 29th, Neighbors for Clean Air (NCA) partnered with 350pdx to put together a narrated bike tour of Portland’s worst air polluters. On their website, NCA posted recent news sharing that air in parts of Southeast and North Portland contain alarming levels of cadmium and arsenic, elements known to cause cancer. For this reason, they work to inform the public of the health issues caused by Portland’s toxic air, as well as work with public officials to promote stricter regulations and policies that improve air quality.

Nicholas Caleb, the NCA staff attorney, led a group of bikers from the Hawthorne Bridge to or near major sources of air pollution in Portland. The group first travelled to a stop along the Willamette River under the 5 freeway and next to Union Pacific railroad tracks to discuss the recent Mosier derailment and how the rail system is not democratic with Union Pacific deciding to start sending oil trains again even with local community and governmental opposition . DSC_0223Then, they biked to Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy for Young Women, a location where students had constant exposure to air pollution due to its proximity to the 5 freeway. The group then travelled to a new apartment complex still continuing construction to examine issues of gentrification in Portland.

The tour ended at Mock’s Crest Park (also often referred to as Skidmore Bluffs), where the group looked out onto the Willamette River and the eastside industrial area and the NW fossil fuel storage tank farms.

At the different destinations Nicholas and Mia Reback, the 350pdx staff organizer and development coordinator, informed bikers of the history of air pollution in Portland, as well as its relationship to gentrification, climate change, and the disproportionate impacts these issues have on low-income and minority communities. Join us next time for an informative and fun evening bike ride!

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