Eugene residents say governments at every level are failing to protect us from environmental health hazards. Here are a dozen highlights from public comment on June 13.
[00:00:09] Jim Neu: My name is Jim Neu. This past week, we surpassed a milestone humanity has not reached in over 6,000 years and it is not good. The earth is at 421 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere— 50 percent higher than the start of the Industrial Revolution. Scientists say 350 parts per million is the allowable level humans can sustainably live at.
[00:00:31] Burning of fossil gas, coal, and oil has put us at this level and we are cooking the planet. Increasing two parts per million of carbon dioxide per year, we do not have time to procrastinate. We are already experiencing the consequences.
[00:00:45] Aya Cockram: My name is Aya Cockram. We cannot continue to build infrastructure that harms our health and degrades our climate.
[00:00:50] We also cannot trust companies like Northwest Natural to decarbonize as they claim to be doing. Northwest Natural, like Big Tobacco before them, uses all the dirty tricks in their playbook to keep us hooked on their product, producing booklets and sending them to schools. These materials call gas ‘an invisible friend’ and associate gas with things kids tend to like, like pizza, dinosaurs, and use puzzles, games, and colorful graphics.
[00:01:12] As a mother and former preschool teacher, I am shocked and concerned about the impact that this propaganda and what it could do to young minds.
[00:01:20] What makes this all the more disturbing is that children are some of the most vulnerable to the harms of methane gas in the home.
[00:01:27] Joshua Korn: Joshua Korn. I want to bring some attention to Senate Bill 283—which required a review of children’s exposure to Wi-Fi—and the Oregon Health Authority’s response to this bill, and they did a really piss-poor job of it. This Environmental Health Trust review is something that you all might want to take a look at. They did a very detailed analysis of the shortcomings of this report from the OHA and, I want to bring attention to —as I’ve done before— the concept of captured agencies and show that Oregon is not immune from this concept. Based on this report and based on SB 283, OHA can be considered in the ranks of a captured agency.
[00:02:23] Jeremy AAsum: My name is Jeremy AAsum. We need more help. Currently West Eugene lacks a vision on how to blend industry, business, public space, and homes. There are numerous issues of traffic, few places for amenities, and notorious blight from industry, especially along Highway 99. Many of us in West Eugene are eager to work with businesses and the community to improve West Eugene, but we can only go so far without the City’s support. I request that the City make West Eugene a priority through proper zoning, services, and a quality of life with an area plan. It’s been over 40 years since we’ve had an area plan and it is long overdue.
[00:02:58] Nickolas Anzelmo: Why do we have to divide ourselves among whether we’re gay or straight, or white, or red, or blue, wearing a mask or not.
[00:03:07] I’ve been exposed to COVID thousands of times in the last two years, I haven’t been sick for years. I’m anti-vax, I’m anti-mask. So please explain to me why am I not dead? And why do the county and the city continue to discriminate against people? The Whiteaker Hostel, for example, doesn’t allow people who are unvaccinated to stay overnight at their hostel. The Country Fair isn’t allowing people to stay overnight if they’re not— unvaccinated. This is blatant discrimination. It’s discrimination and removal of the choice that people have of bodily autonomy. ‘My Body My Choice.’ What happened to that?
[00:03:50] Melinda Stone: This is a public service announcement to alert the men and women who live on the land called Eugene to the tyranny of the political, judicial, and appointed leaders for the City of Eugene in the Municipal Court, the Police Department, the City Prosecutor’s Office who have over the course of the last 14 months prosecuted me.
[00:04:10] I was falsely arrested for trespassing in Market of Choice in South Eugene on February 18, 2021, revolving around the mask issue, despite Market of Choice respecting my God-given right to not wear a mask.
[00:04:24] The City of Eugene power structure violates laws. They impose on men and women who have every right to breathe oxygen for health and survival, and where the city profits off false arrests and successful prosecutions of nonviolent law-abiding men and women.
[00:04:41] Aeron Lerch: My name is Aeron Lerch. States are actively attacking trans people and politicians are out to legislate us out of existence. Over a dozen states have either restricted or banned gender-affirming care and they’re targeting trans children in particular. Texas is trying to enforce mandatory reporting and investigation of parents of trans children for child abuse for supporting their children.
[00:05:02] Timothy Morris: My name is Timothy Morris. One out of seven Eugenians are paying more than half their income on rent and rent alone. That’s unaffordable. Renters need your help and I urge you to pass these protections. These have been discussed for over six years now, countless Housing Policy Board meetings, over several City Council meetings and an absurd amount of conversations, and it’s more than time to pass these and get these going now, especially considering how COVID-19 has affected renters in our community.
We are potentially facing an entire decade of economic evictions and countless families who are set to be unhoused without direct intervention from their city and their state who tries to house them.
[00:05:44] Ingrid Edstrom: My name is Ingrid Edstrom. I am here tonight, unfortunately, because I have joined the ranks of the Americans with disabilities due to electromagnetic sensitivity and injury. Since I’ve gotten here this evening, I have a crushing headache after just being in the room with all the EMF and the wireless.
[00:06:00] The AT&T folks put up a 5G small cell and turned it on within the last few months. It’s 1,200 feet from my home. I want to say that this is a terrible hazard and there’s going to be more people like me. Thirty-three percent of Americans right now have EMF problems. You guys are about to turn this on even further across the city.
[00:06:20] I want to note that it is illegal for you guys as part of the City Council to be harming Americans with disability.
I also want to say the bees and the hummingbirds in my area have ceased. There’s only a couple of them here and there.
[00:06:34] William Smith: William Smith. I’ve been asking myself lately, ‘Okay, assuming you care, and there’s been a lot of evidence presented that there’s a growing public health threat of wireless radiation, what’s holding back the robust discussion that I’ve seen you give to other issues?’
[00:06:54] Sabrina Siegel: Sabrina Siegel. So many of us are suffering right now from the new wireless infrastructure in town.
[00:07:02] So the City has given permits for these technologies, the new infrastructure, thinking it meets some kind of FCC safety standard. And they do not. Because there is no standard.
[00:07:15] So I’d like to talk about the findings of the DC Court (of Appeals). Basically the FCC were ordered by the judge to review the science, to make new, meaningful standards.
[00:07:30] So in this time we’re living in a ‘Wild West’ of wireless microwave exposures, basically, with no protective standards for 5G, for smart meters, for wireless in schools. The children are being irradiated their whole school day, and we’re all being irradiated around town now with the new small cells.
[00:07:55] Sandy Sanders: My name is Sandy Sanders and I think we’ve got a couple of catastrophes on our hand here with middle housing and 5G. And no attention’s been made to this.
[00:08:05] You’ve heard plenty of testimony previous to this about 5G being deadly. It’s going to knock out a percentage of this population and you guys refuse to turn it off. There’s no reason why you can’t. Other cities in the country have done that. And it is imperative that you keep this stuff away for sensitive people. It’s going to be a disaster. You’re going to get sued and there’s going to be a nightmare outcome coming up.
[00:08:30] Middle housing: I used to work for a planning department. And if you guys ever tried to do this in the county I worked in, they would tar and feather you. That is insane. You are deregulating our zoning. That is crazy. You have gone way beyond the state. If you just went with the minimum standards, test it out for a couple of years and then see what’s happening—But no, you’ve gone way past that. You got R-8s on tiny R-1 lots, 40-foot high buildings with multi-units? If I had a little house next to that, I would want to leave immediately.
If you turn on 5G, I’m going to leave immediately.
[00:09:12] This stuff needs to be taken care of. You guys have a job here to protect us. You’re not doing your job. And this is across the country. Every jurisdiction, every city, every county, the federal government—it’s a train wreck. You guys are not protecting us at all.
[00:09:28] Is it all about empire? Corporate profit? That’s all you listen to: Corporate science. This is not science going on now. This is corporate science, selling products and services they want to make money by. 5G, middle housing—this is going to be gentrification on steroids. Believe me, people are going to really hate this. And we’ve been telling you this for quite a while. You don’t listen.
[00:09:52] The public should vote on middle housing and 5G and a whole list of other things, because you guys are not doing your job.
[00:10:00] John Q: Councilor Matt Keating spoke at the end of the public comment period.
[00:10:04] Councilor Matt Keating: One community member provided in-person testimony tonight, had the audacity to inform this body that they were exposed most recently to multiple COVID-positive persons. And yet here they were, in person, unmasked, flaunting their privilege and disdain for vulnerable populations and immuno-compromised community members. Such a wanton disrespect sadly is no longer shocking, yet it’s extremely disappointing.
[00:10:36] John Q: He read a city ordinance about cause for removal from council meetings.
[00:10:40] Councilor Matt Keating: Meeting Conduct 7.02 says the presiding officer shall be responsible for ensuring order and decorum: ‘Behavior or actions that are unreasonably loud or disruptive shall be cause for removal from council meetings. This includes engaging in violent or distracting action, making loud or disruptive noise, or using similar language, and refusing to obey an order of the presiding officer.’
[00:11:02] Let’s talk about language. ‘Tarring and feathering’ was used tonight. Tarring and feathering is a form of extreme, brutal, public torture and punishment meant to swiftly enforce unofficial street justice of humiliation and revenge. It is a gruesome practice in which victims are often kidnapped and it’s deeply rooted in racism here in North America.
[00:11:34] I find such incendiary comments — while meant perhaps to be hyperbolic— offensive, unwelcome, and way out of bounds for a civilized public forum.
[00:11:46] John Q: The City Council hears that state and federal and local governments are failing to help — and often causing harm — to our most vulnerable neighbors.
[00:11:56] One councilor responds that language can be cause for removal from the meeting.