June 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

JWN chair predicts injuries at EmX stop near city-approved gas station

4 min read
Ted Coopman tells LTD that bus riders will be injured at the 7th and Polk EmX stop. The neighborhood leader says LTD should have intervened with the city to improve pedestrian safety.

Ted Coopman predicts that pedestrians will be injured where the city approved a gas station near an EmX bus stop. At the Jefferson Westside board meeting Aug. 15, the chair’s report:

Ted Coopman (Jefferson Westside Neighbors, chair): I had a rather lengthy discussion with a representative from LTD, asking what issues people have with LTD perhaps? That was a long conversation. a very frank conversation.

[00:00:23] And they have a new CEO who realizes that they have a public perception problem. I gave them lots of tips as to what I thought they should be doing. And they’re interested in connecting with some of the other neighborhoods and being more engaged with the neighborhood associations. And that there might be the opportunity to meet with their executive team to talk about some of the issues that they’ve had, as far as their public process or lack therein.

[00:00:54] If you recall, we signed off on support for their grant to look at how people get to the bus stops, you know, how did they get to those stations. I suggested to them that one thing they really needed to do, they need to be much more aware of the development that’s going on around those stations.

[00:01:12] Especially with the Polk gas station at 7-Eleven and the debacle that the city waived all those safety rules. And I told them flat out, ‘You’re going to have injuries on that site.’ I think that’s undoubtedly what’s going to happen, because of the way they waived a bunch of the stacking and the flow rules for people getting in and out of that facility.

[00:01:32] And it would have been nice at that point for them (LTD) to step in and say, and if we would have thought that LTD was amenable to it, we probably would have gone for them to help and say, ‘This is bad for you, you need to step in,’ and they might have been able to get the city to do something different with that.

[00:01:47] John Q: Anyone listening at the city and LTD would have heard about additional environmental hazards. These comments were offered at the Oct. 25, 2021 city council meeting:

[00:01:58] Aimée Okotie-Oyekan: My name is Aimée Okotie-Oyekan and I’m an independent consultant working to advance climate justice and community resiliency.

[00:02:05] A city with known goals for climate actions should not be building the fourth gas station within three years, all within a mile of each other. The 7-Eleven proposal on Polk and 7th is one that carries adverse climate and environmental justice implications and should be denied. Building more gas stations is the antithesis to the city of Eugene’s climate action plan. We have an opportunity here and a moral imperative to advance robust climate action for our city. A just transition off of fossil fuels is the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address public health disparities, and improve community access to and participation in climate solutions.

[00:02:42] Ana Molina: My name is Ana Molina and I am the statewide environmental justice project manager for Beyond Toxics. As a resident of Eugene and an organizer, it really concerns me to see the city has recently approved five large-capacity gas stations, a 7-Eleven at 7th and Polk, a 7-Eleven at 11th and Bailey Hill Road, a 7-Eleven at Highway 99 and Roosevelt, another 7-Eleven at 7th and Garfield, and an Arco on Highway 99 at Roosevelt. All of these gas stations were approved without any notifications and involvement of the community who would be impacted by the construction.

[00:03:15] By not transitioning off of fossil fuels, we’re not just contributing to the climate crisis, but also exposing residents who live near new gas stations to increased levels of car and truck exhaust and other pollutants.

[00:03:26] Danny Noonan: My name is Danny Noonan…As someone who lives two blocks away, I also ask that you come out in opposition to the new gas station on 7th and Polk.

[00:03:33] Lisa Arkin: My name is Lisa Arkin, I’m the executive director of Beyond Toxics. In the Eugene Climate Action Plan 2.0, many pages are devoted to stating that the city will do everything it can to transition city operations and the community away from fossil fuel use.

[00:03:52] In fact, there’s a distinct message that residents are responsible for the majority of emissions from fossil fuel. And the report states, quote: ‘Emissions are forecasted to reach 3.13 million metric tons of carbon by 2030 if the community continues with its current growth and consumption patterns.’

[00:04:13] And it goes on to say that the city is doing everything it can help the community to reach its goals. And yet, despite these proclamations, it’s the city that has recently approved five large-capacity gas stations in close proximity to each other. And four of these locations are near middle- to low-income residential neighborhoods, you know, you have to wonder if the city council has heard residents of west Eugene describe their experiences in poor health due to poor air quality. And yet it continues to permit gas stations in defiance, I would say, of its own Climate Action Plan. By building gas stations, the city is also turning clean property, former bank sites, into something that will eventually become a brownfield, and possibly not suitable for housing, despite the city’s proclamation that is trying to provide more housing. These sites will have to be cleaned up because of underground gasoline storage tanks. And this is very expensive and usually has to be done through grants.

[00:05:16] John Q: Public comments at the time asked the city to follow its climate plan. And saying that LTD failed to speak up for its riders, Ted Coopman warns that there will be injuries at 7th and Polk.

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