This action alert recently came through from the Audubon Society:
Dear Audubon Activists,
We need your help to prevent the Port of Portland from destroying one of the largest and most ecologically important unprotected natural areas left in the region. The Port of Portland is asking the City of Portland to annex and rezone 826-acres of wildlife habitat on West Hayden Island to allow for the construction of a giant marine cargo facility. There will be two important opportunities next week to send a strong message to the Port and to the City that the people of Portland do NOT support the destruction of critical wildlife habitat to build unnecessary marine cargo facilities.
This is not the first time that the Port has initiated efforts to annex and rezone West Hayden Island. The Port wasted hundreds of thousands of public dollars in a failed annexation effort in 1999, but withdrew its application in the face of strong criticism from the community over deeply flawed economic and environmental analyses and its failure to work with other Ports in the region to maximize use of the existing industrial land base. This criticism came not only from the environmental community but also from organizations such at the Portland Business Journal:
“We are relieved to learn that the Port of Portland has decided to re-examine its West Hayden island project. The Port wants to rend the island’s fragile environmental fabric so that marine cargo facilities…can be built there…We are not convinced it’s a good trade-off.”
Portland Business Journal Editorial—September 25th, 2000
“The Port of Portland should be commended for reconsidering the West Hayden Island terminals. We’re not convinced that the plan to develop the island acreage shouldn’t be permanently scrapped, But at least by putting it on the shelf for a while, it can be given further study from cost-benefit and environmental standpoints”
Portland Business Journal Editorial– December 18th, 2000
The public process to move annexation and rezoning forward is beginning next week. It is important that we send a strong message right from the start!
Community Working Group Meeting1221 S.W. 4th Avenue, Portland
Comments by Mayor Sam Adams and
Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt.
Portland City Hall, Rose Room
Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Community Town Hall Meeting12050 N. Jantzen Avenue, Portland
Q&A With Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt
Former Hayden Island Yacht Club (across from Safeway)
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE. THERE WILL BE PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITIES AT BOTH MEETINGS. KEY MESSAGES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1) West Hayden Island is a critically important natural area:
- It contains 826-acres of intact habitat including 39 acres of wetlands and 4% of the remaining intact cottonwood bottomland habitat between rivermile 12 and rivermile 145.
- It is home to at least 81 species of birds, 9 mammale species, 4 amphibian species (including sensitive western painted turtles, and provides critical habitat for federal listed salmon.
- It is designated as Class 1 riparian habitat and a “Habitat of Concern” under Metro’s Title 13
- US Fish and Wildlife Service State Supervisor Kemper McMaster has written the West Hayden Island is considered “an important conservation asset regardless of its location. Its presence on and otherwise highly urbanized landscape accentuates its importance.”
2) The Port of Portland has not justified destroying West Hayden Island to build a marine industrial facility. It cannot say what exactly it intends to build or when it will be built, but insists that annexation and rezoning a necessary. it also has completely failed to address issues raised by Audubon and the Business Journal of Portland in 1999 regarding collaborating with the Port of Vancouver. There is no excuse for destroying critical wildlife habitat when the two Ports are not already maximizing use of the existing industrial land base.
3) The city should facilitate a fair and impartial review of the facts in deciding the outcome of the Port’s application. The city’s recent use of public dollars to distribute Port of Portland propaganda and promote Port of Portland public relations events related to West Hayden Island undermine a fair and open process. The city would not fund the outreach activities of any other applicant and it should not do it for the Port either! Destroying between 50% and 80% of the habitat on West Hayden Island to build giant parking lots is not a “Win-Win” situation for the environment and the economy as it was recently described in a City of Portland – Port of Portland Press Release.
4) Hayden Island is currently one of the most park deficient areas in the City. (The Port does not allow access to West Hayden Island) Protecting West Hayden Island as a natural area would create outstanding recreational opportunities to enjoy nature in North Portland and it would undoubtedly become one of the regions premier natural areas.
THIS IS LIKELY TO BE A LONG AND HARD FOUGHT BATTLE. WE ARE GOING TO NEED YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THIS YEAR LONG PROCESS. YOUR PARTICIPATION NEXT WEEK IS CRITICAL.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL OR EMAIL ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION .
Audubon Society of Portland
(503) 292-9501 EXT 110