West Hayden Island is 823 acres of wild and undeveloped land located between the states of Oregon and Washington on the Columbia River. It sits in the middle of a migratory water-fowl fly-way and it is a riparian green space for bald eagles, osprey, reptiles, songbirds and animals. The east side of the island is home to 2,200 residents including the largest manufactured home community in Oregon consisting of families, seniors and disabled. The Port of Portland owns the west side and is planning to turn 300 acres into a bulk marine terminal if the city of Portland annexes the area. The residents and the wildlife would suffer greatly from the pollution and disruption generated by development of West Hayden Island.
A few words of inspiration and wisdom from ecologist (and former Portland resident) Gary Snyder:
Real estate and business people like to argue that economic growth and development are inevitable. Local boosters might say that it is selfish to try and put the brakes on growth. I'd answer most emphatically, it's not selfish for any community or neighborhood to try and find ways to check unwanted growth and expansion in its own backyard. Indeed, those who try to shove growth down our throats are precisely the people who profit from it. Are they not permitted to act in their own self-interest? This is a nation where the pursuit of profit is a totally acceptable goal. Is not the pursuit of quality and equally acceptable goals? No apologies are due for trying to hold the line against either disruptive growth or intrusive industrial uses. In doing so we help sustain community values and the biological viability of our landscape.
--Gary Snyder, A Place in Space
We are “holding the line” against the Port of Portland’s plan for industrial growth on West Hayden Island. After nearly four years of public process it is clear that this development will have unacceptable negative impacts on our local communities and fragile environment. Independent consultants have called into question the economic benefits that will be derived from this development and indicated that alternative sites that would significantly reduce impacts on the community and the environment are available across the river. The Port of Portland has made it clear that they are either not willing or not able to effectively mitigate for the impacts of this development. It is time to recognize that it is not appropriate to site an industrial port facility in the middle of Hayden Island's sensitive wildlife habitat and vulnerable affordable housing communities.
We call on the Port of Portland and the City of Portland to cease efforts to annex and rezone West Hayden Island for industrial development and to permanently protect this important habitat for bald eagles and salmon habitat as an urban wildlife sanctuary for the benefit of wildlife and future generations of people.
A recently released draft health analysis produced by Multnomah County and Upstream Public Health describes the dire risks posed to the local community by this facility: Diesel emissions from trucks, trains and ships as well as other facility emissions could increase air toxic levels threefold to more than 65 times the state benchmarks, increasing risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, lung cancer and premature death. The report also concludes that the development "would have two major effects on the unique housing and social environment on Hayden Island: 1) decrease housing value, 2) disruption of the community's social relationships... Declining property values could increase poverty on the island and / or spur displacement of current residents." Is this how a city committed to equity treats one of its largest affordable housing communities?
We respectfully call on the City and the Port to terminate the process to annex and rezone West Hayden Island for Marine Industrial Development and to immediately begin the process of permanently protecting West Hayden Island's forests, meadows, wetlands and shallow water habitat for wildlife and for future generations. The benefits of this project are at best uncertain, but the harm that will be caused by this project is real, permanent and inconsistent with the City's commitment to creating healthy, prosperous, equitable communities. The City's own Resolution 36805 calls for 'a positive contribution to the community’.
Please save West Hayden Island.