Saying they are “deeply frustrated” by the lack of progress from Oregon Governor Kate Brown, youth climate activists with Sunrise Movement PDX have boosted and tweaked their demands in a new letter that was also copied to Oregon’s congressional delegation, US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and other elected officials.
“Sunrise PDX has been holding climate rallies outside the Region 1 Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) headquarters for over six months now to call attention to the agency’s devastating contribution to Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions,” states the letter, “When you began serving Oregon as governor in 2015, you promised to fight for the youth, for our futures. And yet, 6 years later, you have not kept that promise. We’ve sent you this letter in hopes that you finally will.”
Two dozen activists (average age of 23) signed the letter (below), which comes after their bi-monthly protests outside ODOT headquarters have gained wider notice from regional elected officials, advocacy coalition partners, and the media. Sunrise PDX activists celebrated last week when their climate concerns around ODOT’s planned freeway expansions made the front page of The Oregonian.
Among their demands first unveiled in April, these activists want: a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Rose Quarter
freeway expansion; an immediate moratorium on all freeway expansions within Portland’s Urban
Growth Boundary; and a youth climate advocate to be appointed to the Oregon Transportation Commission, the five-member panel that oversees ODOT.
Sunrise PDX says Brown has, “actively ignored” every demand.
Their hopes for a youth climate member of the OTC were dashed last month when the state announced the selectiono of UO Law School Dean Marcilynn A. Burke. Now the activists say Brown should expand the commission to seven members, and add one person under 35 and another who doesn’t or can’t own a car or drive — a condition they say would represent an estimated 1 in 3 Oregonians.
Now the activists have turned their sights to the upcoming influx of federal funding from the Biden administration. They have a new demand related to that:
“… every dollar from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better legislation (if passed) go towards transportation projects that will reduce vehicle miles traveled and carbon emissions by increasing investment in transit, passenger rail, biking and walking.”
Read the full letter below:
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