Here’s the list of demands from youth climate activists

Posted by on September 28th, 2021 at 10:05 am

Marching over the Steel Bridge on Friday, September 24th.
(Photo © Rick Rappaport)

Last Friday’s huge Youth Climate Strike saw 2,000 Portland students take to the streets to demand more action on climate change. But what exactly are they fighting for? Part of the reason many elected officials don’t take climate change more seriously is because they’re willing see young people, but unwilling to listen to them.

Friday’s march and rally was not just a photo op, and these activists are not going away. Organizers of the event with Portland Youth Climate Strike have issued a list of demands and are actively working to meet with local politicians to make them a reality.

Here’s what they want (note the detailed transportation-related demands):

We demand:
Portland leaders reflect racial justice in climate justice policy:
a. Portland is still suffering from decades of redlining pre-dating the historic Albina flood. In a recent study conducted by Portland State University, it shows traditionally redlined communities are nearly 13 degrees hotter than their white counterparts. Policies that have enforced gentrified conditions are exacerbating the fatal impacts of climate change.

A total switch to green infrastructure:
a. Require green fuel for city-owned vehicles, including school buses, police cars, ambulances, and any other government-issued vehicles in active duty.

b. Updating public transport routes and maintenance of sidewalks, to publicly push a more pedestrian open narrative into the city.

c. Create clean and secure housing for all people currently on the Portland streets.

An accelerated deadline for Portland to be 100% carbon neutral by 2035:
a. Due to HB 2021, Oregon is required to make an active effort to cut down on fossil fuels and the dependency on unrenewable energy.

b. This would also require local energy companies and providers to adapt electrical grids to accommodate the rate of change, and the decrease of greenhouse providers.

The city cut down on the importation of fossil fuels as soon as possible, with a focus in NW Portland:
a. Industrial Portland, housing much of the fossil fuel plants in the county, is poorly equipped for natural disasters such as the overdue Cascadia earthquake. This district is also home to a significant number of low income/working class communities. When this inevitable disaster does occur, Portland is in grave danger of facing one of the worst oil spills and gas leaks in the NW region.

b. Current fossil fuel industries must focus on earthquake-proofing current infrastructure designed to withstand 5.0 – 9.0 in magnitude.

The city prioritize a rapid and just decarbonization of our region’s transportation system:
a. Work with regional partners to fully fund Youth Pass

b. An immediate moratorium on all freeway expansions within city limits

c. Supporting legislation to demand every transportation megaproject be subjected to an independent analysis of its projected impacts to vehicle miles travelled and carbon pollution

d. Join community advocates pushing for a full Environmental Impact Statement on the Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion and full ODOT-funding of buildable highway caps for Albina Vision Trust

e. Full implementation of the progressive policy recommendations proposed by the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility (POEM) committee.

Lastly, every Portlander view structural and interpersonal issues through a climate resilient lens, and become climate leaders in their own rights. The future of youth depends on the policy actions taken today, and every decision passed has environmental consequences.

On Wednesday, some of the organizers of the march will be back in action at the 12th Youth vs. ODOT rally. This week they’ll welcome Oregon State Rep Wlnsvey Campos (D-Aloha) as a guest speaker. You can join a group bike ride to the event that leaves Sunnyside School in southeast Portland at 3:45. Learn more about the event at the @YouthVsODOT IG account.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Zachary
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Zachary

These are all so reasonable. Would be interested to see details fleshed out in terms of cost, jurisdiction, etc. These answers are out there, though not all in one place.

I know there is a school of thought in political activism that says not to get bogged down in details as that isn’t going to inspire a movement, but behind the scenes that needs to be done so as to really come to the table prepared to negotiate for these policies. In the end, actual change is what will matter.

At the least, those of us supporting these young folks need to write/call our city/county electeds and tell them to come to the table.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

At the least, those of us supporting these young folks need to write/call our city/county electeds and tell them to come to the table.

Electeds reallly don’t care what young people think. It’d probably end up like the token discussions last year with the PoC youth around police brutality. Essentially “what do we need to say to get you to stop bashing us on twitter”. Young people don’t have the money needed to bribe electeds and for whatever reason they tend to not vote. If the last two years has taught us anything, it’s that not a single leader in Multnomah County, Metro, or CoP give even the littlest care about what you or I think about anything. They are all angling for the next highest position and will do whatever they need to appear progressive while serving their corporate masters.

The first ‘demand’ should getting rid of our system of government and replacing it with geographical and more representation. That way the central eastside and west hills can continue to elect conservative empty suits and the rest of Portland can elect folks who have been east of 82nd in their lifetime.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Yes! Portland needs districts like Metro, the Oregon Legislature and Multnomah County already have so the city can be just as effective, progressive and transparent in governance as those august elected bodies!

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Yes! Portland needs districts like Metro, the Oregon Legislature and Multnomah County already have so the city can be just as effective, progressive and transparent in governance as those august elected bodies!

Nice hot take! It’s not like there are several hundred other functioning governmental bodies we could look at to redesign our system instead of the failed ones I mentioned in my post!

But I guess really thinking about what I wrote wouldn’t allow enough time for your enlightening comments!

 Jason
Guest
 Jason

Portland is still suffering from decades of redlining pre-dating the historic Albina flood.

I apologize for the ignorance, but what is red lining, in this context.

I’m loving the intention of the goals.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I’d blame the many “multiple vague and conflicting” contradictions of these “demands” on naive youth, but really one can say the same of most adults too – likely they reflect their parent’s point of view and many Portlanders as well.

– Albina was once upon a time very black, but most have since left – it’s now a national case study on rapid gentrification. “Traditionally Red Lined” communities at least in Portland are now among the most gentrified in the country. New white communities are 13% hotter than old white communities, both of which now have many BIPOC residents too.
– School buses aren’t city vehicles – they belong to the school districts. Youth passes benefit areas with good TriMet service, basically inner Portland. Clearly these youth are PPS students and not from the David Douglas or Parkrose public school districts which are also in Portland and who are dependent on yellow buses because TriMet service is so awful, or else they would know that.
– Regulating highway construction and oil depots are state functions, not city. I love how the oil depot is at fault and not American’s addiction to driving (and how many teens still identify driving with freedom.)
– By approving the freeway caps, one is implicitly approving of freeway expansion and fuller use of more concrete, a major contributor to greenhouse gasses, not to mention more people driving.

I could go on, but what’s the point?

ivan
Guest
ivan

Gosh, there is so much to unpack here.

You start with an ad hominem attack on young people with ideas, suggesting that, obviously, youth are too stupid to determine their own thoughts and must simply be parroting older adults.

You use the fact that communities change over time and that capitalist development seeks out new sites of exploitation to suggest that generations of economic disinvestment no longer matter, and that hey, some of my best neighbors are people of color.

You cite the presence of school districts with yellow buses as a reason that public transit for youth shouldn’t be free and accessible to everyone.

You invent words and put them in young people’s mouths (that “teens still identify driving with freedom”) without any evidence that anyone involved said or believes anything like this.

You suggest that freeway caps can and should only happen if said freeways get expanded, which even you I am pretty sure know to be untrue. People have been in these comment threads for the last 15 years talking about how 405 and 5 could be capped, and there was an article on here in the past couple of months about this very topic. No freeway expansion necessary.

You assemble it all into a kind of Gish Gallop, “these kids and their crazy delusions,” so that you can dismiss the entire idea of young climate-change activists as absurd.

David, you usually bring nuanced and well-researched historical facts into these conversations, even from the other side of the country. This kind of thing is really beneath you.

I’m 39 now, but I recall being a young activist dismissed by the wise elders who lied us into wars, sabotaged renewable energy, ignored structural racism, denied climate change, exploded the carceral state, purposely excluded poor folks from health care…I could go on, but what’s the point?

Young folks are often the ones pushing societal change when us oldies have given up or retreated into incrementalism. If you have advice to pass along, instead of just sniping from comment threads, get involved in these movements and (respectfully) share your wisdom.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I see, attacking me instead my ideas. How typical on this forum.

ivan
Guest
ivan

Every item in my comment concerned your ideas and your words. I suppose I could have started each paragraph with “Your ideas suggest…” instead of “You say…” (or the like) but that seemed a little pretentious.

I do often value your comments elsewhere on this site. It was in particular your ideas that dismissed young activists’ own ideas as unoriginal, hypocritical or quixotic that I found so surprising and unfortunate.

joan
Subscriber

Ivan, this is very well said. Thanks.

soren
Guest
soren

“to suggest that generations of economic disinvestment no longer matter”

Considering that David Hampsten explicitly stated that generations of economic disinvestment matter a great deal a few comments above, this is a particularly ugly straw man.

https://bikeportland.org/2021/09/28/heres-the-list-of-demands-from-youth-climate-activists-338896#comment-7434077

…as a reason that public transit for youth shouldn’t be free and accessible to everyone.”

David made no such argument. This is another ugly strawman.

You suggest that freeway caps can and should only happen if said freeways get expanded

David was referring to the fact that the proposed I5-RQ freeway caps are a quid pro quo for freeway expansion. Our climate science-minimizing democratic governor will only build caps if I5 is expanded in the RQ.

ivan
Guest
ivan

Considering that David Hampsten explicitly stated that generations of economic disinvestment matter a great deal a few comments above, this is a particularly ugly straw man.

Indeed, the fact that David is knowledgeable about CCRs made it so surprising that he would dismiss this section of the activists’ demands. They wrote, “Portland is still suffering from decades of redlining…” and David objected that a) Albina is gentrified now, b) other redlined communities are gentrified now, and c) “New white communities are 13% hotter than old white communities, both of which now have many BIPOC residents too” which I’m not even going to try to paraphrase. That some redlined districts were later targeted by exploitative development and that some have BIPOC residents does not disprove the activists’ claim that redlining has economic effects that have lasted until today, so I’m not sure how this indicates, in David’s words, “‘multiple vague and conflicting’ contradictions of these ‘demands'”.

David made no such argument [that public transit for youth shouldn’t be free].

He wrote that “Clearly these youth are PPS students and not from the David Douglas or Parkrose public school districts which are also in Portland and who are dependent on yellow buses because TriMet service is so awful, or else they would know that.” This serves to discredit the idea of their demand (Youth Passes, aka free transit for youth) because, he argues, it wouldn’t benefit all students, while also condescendingly suggesting they’re clueless about fellow students elsewhere in the city. He doesn’t say “youth shouldn’t have free transit,” but if he is arguing why the activists’ demand for free transit for youth isn’t a legitimate demand then isn’t that equivalent?

David was referring to the fact that the proposed I5-RQ freeway caps are a quid pro quo for freeway expansion. Our climate science-minimizing democratic governor will only build caps if I5 is expanded in the RQ.

And yet the only blame found in his comment was for the young activists, not the governor. They explicitly say they are against freeway expansion, so clearly they don’t share the governor’s short-sighted belief. They are suggesting an alternate route, in which we don’t expand the freeways but do cap the existing ones. Why is such a vision verboten?

And if you say “it’s should be about realistic political goals” then I think you misunderstand the purpose of these types of demands. Being 100% carbon neutral by 2035 or the city switching entirely to green infrastructure is also “unrealistic” but the point of targets such as this is to move the Overton Window around what is acceptable public policy.

Clearly you and I, soren, (and I think David) agree that the climate crisis is one that requires immediate and substantive action. Demands beyond what is “possible” (but what we understand is, in fact, actually necessary!) demonstrate the public interest in these kinds of justly dramatic changes in our laws and lives.

soren
Guest
soren

I’m glad that you are implicitly owning up to the strawmen. I think David’s comment was overly caustic and rude so I’m not going to respond to your commentary about his comments.

carbon neutral

I’m not a fan of “carbon neutrality” and “net zero” and I’m not alone in this point of view:

“Net zero emissions by 2050 for the EU equals surrender. It means giving up. We don’t just need goals for just 2030 or 2050. We, above all, need them for 2020 and every following month and year to come.

Because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget – which applies for today, not a faraway future. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus then we must forget about net zero or ”carbon neutrality”. We need real zero.”

— Fridays for the Future open letter to EU leaders at the European Commission, European Parliament and member states.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-strikers-open-letter-to-eu-leaders-on-why-their-new-climate-law-is-surrender

switching entirely to green infrastructure

I support systemically switching to green infrastructure but we need to do this based on the best available climate science.

ivan
Guest
ivan

I agree about carbon neutral/ity and net zero.

I don’t think this belief in it is specific to this group of activists, though. XRPDX, to take but one example, highlights net zero in their demands, and was probably a source of some of these.

But I’m used to working with groups/movements that don’t have as radical goals as I’d like to see. In my experience the most successful way to move folks is to get to know them and talk activist-to-activist, whether that’s inside their organization or informally. But unless an approach is actively destructive or reactionary, I don’t think publicly calling out a group whose success you would otherwise wish for generally has the best rate of success.

soren
Guest
soren

I gave my opinion about “net neutrality” in response to your comment. Characterizing this as “a call out” is in bad faith.

ivan
Guest
ivan

Right, sorry I was imprecise there. I was talking more about David (and others in this comment thread) criticizing the activists, not discussions like yours within the comments.

soren
Guest
soren

“I love how the oil depot is at fault and not American’s addiction to driving.”

It’s fascinating how there seems to be far more willingness to oppose oil/gas exports to Asia than to oppose oil/gas consumption in the USA.

IMO, the underlying message of this disparity is that USAnians are entitled to keep their absurd levels of concentrated oil/gas wealth while “those foreign people” should make economic sacrifices because the USA poisoned the commons (and is continuing to do so).

Watts
Guest
Watts

Or, viewed less cynically, we saw a relatively easy opportunity to make an impact by making the production side more difficult/expensive, and we took it.

I’m not saying addressing demand here in America isn’t important, but it isn’t either/or, and not a single person I know involved in this issue (and there are many) is motivated by jingoism or xenophobia, or making “those foreign people” pay a price.

Your take is overly harsh, and it’s simply uncalled for.

soren
Guest
soren

…a relatively easy opportunity

Relatively easy because it does not ruffle the feathers of local fossil fuel consumers (where organizers, ironically, have the most power to effect change). Organizing that focuses on getting other communities to stop abusing the commons because doing so in our communities is hard isn’t xenophobia or jingoism [your words entirely] — it’s localism/nationalism.

…making the production side more difficult/expensive

The idea that blocking expansion of an individual oil/gas export depot in the PNW will have a meaningful impact on the global oil/gas market is absurd. IMO, the power of this kind of campaign is more about creating a movement that demands systemic change, than manipulating commodity prices.

Watts
Guest
Watts

The choice was not between stopping Zenith or stopping Portlanders from driving. The choice was between stopping Zenith or not stopping Zenith. We made the right decision. It was relatively easy because it could get done at the local level. Unlike, say, things that are politically (and perhaps legally) impossible.

No one has claimed the action would have a significant impact on global markets; of course it won’t. But that doesn’t mean it was not a good thing to do, especially given the alternative, which was not to do it.

Our predicament doesn’t call for doing the one right thing. It calls for doing all the things.

soren
Guest
soren

things that are politically (and perhaps legally) impossible.

Many of these impossible “things” are discussed in the metro climate action plan. Also, the whole point of fighting for a better world is to make the impossible possible.

It calls for doing all the things

Many orgs/organizers are doing admirable work in certain areas but I’m trying to remember the last time there was a significant protest of the fossil fuel infrastructure that is the largest source of local CO2 emissions — gas/diesel stations. As I recall, it was a few years after occupy (by a problematic group).

Other neglected areas of climate advocacy are, of course, petro-fueled over-consumption (by far the largest source of Portland’s global emissions), food-associated emissions, energy efficiency mandates (especially retrofits), conservation/right to repair.

soren
Guest
soren

It’s depressing to see a list of specific demands that mostly glosses over the specific GHG infrastructure that pollutes the most in Portland:

@ The neo-gilded age fossil-fuel-powered consumption of middle and upper class Portlanders (infrastructure that promotes this frivolous consumption is fossil fuel infrastructure and should be regulated to the point of irrelevance).

@ The hundreds of millions of liters of fossil fuel “imports” that Portlanders burn in SUVs/trucks/cars/airplanes and the stations that “pump” this toxic effluent.

@ The heaping piles of GHG-polluting animal product stored in hundreds of thousands of refrigerators/freezers in Portland.

@ The energy-wasting brobdingnagian detached homes that over a hundred thousand Portland households (often 1-2 people) live in.

joan
Subscriber

These youth are doing incredible work. They are spending a lot of their time and energy trying to make our world better in ways we did not. I wish the adults here criticizing them would give them a bit of grace instead of sneers. Not sure there’s much to be gained in trying to shut them down cynically.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

They are doing incredible work. But we’d like them to be a bit more effective rather than giving their detractors more ammo based on their collective ignorance of local government, history, and so on.

joan
Subscriber

David, it doesn’t matter what “we’d” like. And who is we? Who do you think you’re speaking on behalf of? Old people? Why should they feel obligated to get our approval when we’ve clearly allowed these climate atrocities to continue? And, honestly, sometimes it’s okay to just … not say anything. Let the kids do this work. Help or get out of the way.

Watts
Guest
Watts

In a democratic society, everyone gets a vote, so it matters in a very real way what old people say. Telling the less enlightened to take a hike isn’t always the most effective way to move an issue forward.

Besides, pointing out weaknesses in an argument so it can be more effective is helping.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Who are you and JM calling old? Do you have a bias against people over 19?

soren
Guest
soren

“get out of the way.”

David played an important role in the East Portland in Action Process that led to the East Portland In Motion Plan. The results of this work can be seen in much of the new active transportation infrastructure in East Portland today.

https://eastpdxnews.com/general-news-features/outer-east-portland-activist-bids-adieu/

I’m really glad that he did not get out of the way.

Aaron - No More Freeways
Guest

1500 youth marched through the city, got media attention on every single newspaper and television platform, gave excellent interviews couched in moral clarity and directly pointing out the agencies that must change.

David, i’d say they’ve been pretty damn effective for fifteen year olds organizing in between high school classes.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I agree Aaron, they have been damn effective and brave, quite admirable really.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

But Aaron, the point of this article has nothing to do with their protesting or not, but rather what the protesters are saying and demanding. I don’t necessarily disagree with much of what they collectively have to say, and for the parts I may disagree on I’m willing to debate as part of our democratic process, but what I’m seeing from JM and others is an unwillingness to take these protesters views seriously – they treat them as kids rather than as adults, they don’t debate the protesters views as rigorously as they do when an ODOT official makes inflammatory remarks or Commissioner Hardesty confronts the BAC. And that is tragic.

Other than my remarks, and other’s responses to my remarks, has anyone aside from Soren yet made any statement whatsoever of what parts of the demands they agree with, support, have issue with, or make their usual snarky remarks on? Has anyone looked beyond the fact that the protesters are young and protesting, and instead treated them as sentient intellectual beings who have a stake in our collective future and worthy of being treated as fellow adult human beings?

Should I just assume that everyone who is attacking me or what I have to say or how I say it, simply has nothing to contribute?

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor

I agree with your gist David. Sometimes the greatest support an adult can give a young person is to take them seriously, which might take the form of pointing out sloppy mistakes and calling for a higher standard. Nothing undermines an argument like getting basic facts wrong. Here’s a good short history of Vanport: https://www.oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/essays/the-vanport-flood/#.YVO6Hy2ZNTI

And hey, it’s just the BP Comments section–pretty much a friendly space. I think the young activists will survive.

(Your “what’s the point” was probably too dismissive though. Maybe they have amongst them a detailed-oriented introvert eager to take a larger role.)

joan
Subscriber

Respectfully, Lisa, my experience hasn’t been that the BP comments are a friendly place, especially not to women, folks of color, and trans folks. It’s been sort of famously hostile, really. That’s changed a lot, thanks to Jonathan’s increased moderation the past several months. But there are a lot of folks who stopped engaging and participating here after many years of trying (I stopped for a while myself).

But I don’t think referring to young folks as naive suggests an adult is taking them seriously. I don’t think it’s wrong to point out errors; I think there are much better ways to do that that don’t read as condescending.

I do appreciate what you’re contributing here a great deal, and particularly how you engage in the comments.

cmh89
Guest
cmh89

Sometimes the greatest support an adult can give a young person is to take them seriously, which might take the form of pointing out sloppy mistakes and calling for a higher standard.

70 million American adults voted for donald trump in 2020. Our mayor/police commissioner let a violent mob of white supremacists attack our city and his only response was “choose love”. PBOT and ODOT have institutionalized the lie that bicycles are bad for the climate and road expansions is good for it. Those kinds of mistruths or lies are far more damaging than some poor proofreading that mixes up Albina and Vanport. I don’t think we have a very high standard for adults. Why should we hold youth to a higher standard than we have for our current electeds?

I don’t think treating the youth like children when they are doing something impressive is the right way to go. I think those ‘sloppy mistakes’ are no different than what we see from adult run political movements.

The biggest thing adults, especially older adults with less skin in the game can do is get out their way and stop pew pewing their actions.

ivan
Guest
ivan

^This.

Zach Katz
Guest
Zach Katz

Major props to PYCS, but it’s strange to see no mention of active transportation infrastructure in their list of demands. Sidewalk maintenence and “updated bus routes” are necessary for a bare-minimum functional transportation system, but only active transportation (bikes, e-scooters, electric mobility devices, etc.) solves the last-mile problem and provides the infrastructure that’s proven to get people out of their cars.

Stinky Pinky
Guest
Stinky Pinky

In the lead photo I see a Nike logo on the young lady’s pants and what appears to be an Apple iPhone. These young folks should learn the impact of their purchasing decisions as well. Consuming large quantities of imported goods is not helping things. Especially disposable technology like phones that get updated almost every year.

ivan
Guest
ivan

YET YOU PARTICIPATE IN SOCIETY! CURIOUS!

https://thenib.com/mister-gotcha/

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Did they really choose to cross the upper deck of the Steel Bridge for this march? Crippling our fully-electric rail transit system seems like a huge misstep. I had just taken my kid to Washington Park on MAX that morning, and had we been a half hour later, we would have been stuck.

I guess I’ll drive next time I hear about a climate strike in Portland.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

I think it is a little silly to be nitpicking at the kids for semantics, choice of demonstration venues or historical context given what they are protesting against. Yes, some of their reasoning is not fully formed but lets look at what they are opposing. We have known that burning fossil fuels at the rate we have been will cause drastic climate change for over 40 years now. The reasons to have ignored this and condemn this next generation to a burning hell of rising sea levels, dangerous temperature , drought and famine are much much much worse. All that comes to mind are greed, sloth, denial and old fashioned wickedness. Kids, get out there and kick some butt, the old people deserve it.

PS
Guest
PS

This level of social engagement is great, the “demand” aspect of that engagement is probably not exactly the way to go about it, but what do I know?

Regardless, it is probably important to note that there are 25 MSAs in the US with more people than Portland. Many of them are not beneficiary to the temperate climate we have and access to renewable resources (i.e. wind, hydro, solar). So, in short, there are many millions of people in this country who burn far more resources to exist than we do and as we are reminded constantly, the climate is everywhere and changes to it come from everywhere. I guess this is my diplomatic attempt at saying, what we do here in Portland literally won’t matter at all and may actually degrade the standard of living if we make it uncompetitive as a place to live. This is where high schoolers should be taught about the revenue generation systems of where they live, predominately property taxes and how it is we can afford so much stuff here while their parents have been paying $3,000 in property taxes for 20 years.

It is not to say their list isn’t important, the risk of the Cascadia earthquake is super real, and we are super not close to being prepared. Problematically, some of that lack of preparedness is because we have elected people who don’t want you to know if you are going into a building that could kill you, much less live in one. That said, the people living in the “gentrification” apartments, are going to be fine.

Much like the climate, the economy is and has been global as well, so maybe someone needs to remind these kids/youths/young-adults that their pocket super computer isn’t actually made in Cupertino. Good ol China and the amount of carbon they emit makes us look amateurish, kind of like Portland kids telling everyone else what they need to do, while not making one mention of, I don’t know, collaborating in geographic power structures to force change beyond our city, metro, county, and state to balance making improvements to the climate while also moving to stabilize economic prosperity for the greatest number of people. Oh right, we have tried that, a lot, and it is super hard. Interestingly enough, it is harder than walking out of a room that it would appear they need to be spending more time in, not less.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

You are right in that Portland is statistically rather insignificant nationwide, that there are 25 MSA with more people, etc.

But as an ex-Portlander, I am continuously amazed how often the city is cited for this or that positive attribute at various planning conventions here in the Deep South. It has a mystique and probably unearned reputation as a national leader in sustainability, bike friendliness, good planning, weirdness, and being an affordable city for 20-something slackers to retire in. It certainly rivals NYC in nearly every category except population.

Even our local politicians here in Greensboro NC cite Portland whenever they want something vaguely progressive.

Yeah, we all know that such a reputation is built on hogwash, but it’s nevertheless still there, at least in places far away from the West Coast. No doubt it’s a reflection of the Portlandia TV show and the long memories of city bureaucrats everywhere.

I still regularly meet 20-something slacker “artists” here in NC who are eager to drive 2,800 miles to Portland as soon as the pandemic ends. No job lined up, no housing, barely literate, horrible driving record (and uninsured), and very dreamy. Your next nextdoor neighbor, no doubt.

So in my usual crude way, what I’m saying is that what you collectively do in Portland does matter to the rest of us nationally. We want you to do the right thing, whatever that is, because it makes it easier for us advocates in other parts of the country to advocate successfully if we can cite Portland Oregon as having done this progressive thing or done that already – “Portland did it first, this is how they did it, can we do it here?”

PS
Guest
PS

Fair point, but I guess I was more alluding to the reality that it will be difficult for Portlanders to do enough to make a meaningful impact with respect to climate change when you have places like Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta not getting smaller. I would argue, if we’re really in this all together, it benefits the most by having the most amount of people possible move to the temperate portions of the country. NIMBYism will of course keep that from happening, but it makes a whole lot more sense than nonsense demands that Portland cars use “green fuel”.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

True, places like Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta are mild and temperate compared to NYC, Chicago, and Minneapolis in the deep freeze of winter, likely why people keep migrating to here. Everything is relative. One gradually becomes acclimatized to the sultry mid-summers in the southeast, just as Portlanders get used to the months without sunshine every rainy season and midwesterners to freezing their asses every winter.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

personally feel our advocacy tends to get lost in our own privilege as we see who can be the angriest, or use JUSTICE!!! the most, or blast Hampsten for having the gall to actually challenge the teens to put together a cogent thought.

Whether I’m right in my view is really not the point though…i’m probably just ill-tempered. But our arguments over how to cut down fossil fuel use in NW Portland are rendered completely asinine by the realities of the world:

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

#1 reality:

China’s Electricity Crisis Caused By Coal Shortage

WEDNESDAY, SEP 29, 2021 – 08:00 PM
By John Kemp, Reuters energy reporter and columnist

China is in the grip of a severe shortage of both coal and electricity as the economy has resumed strong growth after the coronavirus recession but coal mine output has failed to keep up, leaving generators short of fuel.

Reflecting a booming economy, China’s electricity generation increased by 616 Terawatt-hours (13%) in the first eight months of 2021 compared with the same period last year…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And China’s per capita CO2 emissions are still a fraction of our own. I think we should be addressing our issues at home before worrying about what other countries (nearly all of whom have lower emissions than our own) are doing.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

sorta kinda think in an issue like this, absolute levels matter a wee bit too.