Governor Kotek – Will She Pave Paradise?

And put up a parking lot (for luxury condos)

Heat islands, especially in lower income areas like outer SE Portland, added to the death toll from the last heat dome. Heat islands are caused and intensified by a lack of shade from mature trees. How many more will die during the next heat wave because of Governor Kotek’s latest attack on our local environmental protection laws?

Governor Kotek pushed a bill that would have gutted our land use laws including protections for open spaces, wetlands and trees. Thankfully the bill failed by one vote.

Now the Governor apparently wants to accomplish the same things piece meal, starting with a proposal to prevent local governments from enforcing tree codes and allow development in wetlands.

This is being done theoretically to provide more affordable housing but the proposal allows ANY residential development, more likely to be luxury condos than affordable housing. The proposal was drafted by developers that make up the Governor’s Housing Production Advisory Council, apparently with no environmental justice advocates on the scene. More affordable housing is possible without cutting down massive numbers of mature trees and paving over wetlands.

There is a climate crisis, I am not sure that the Governor is aware of this. Trees and wetlands help prevent climate change and mitigate for the impacts, especially in lower income communities. The serious lack of shade equity in Portland is well documented. We need more large trees, more wetlands, not less. We need more healthy affordable housing – the Governor needs to work with environmental justice advocates on housing issues, not just those who profit from gutting our local environmental laws. There are many good, creative ways to find healthy housing for all, Governor Kotek is not going to clear cut her way out of this.

Let the Governor know! Go to her comment page and tell her you do not want our tree code and wetland protections gutted. Tell her to work with climate justice advocates to come up with real solutions to the lack of healthy affordable housing.

About Lynn Spitaleri Handlin

Organizing member of Extinction rebellion pdx, founding member of Cascadia Magical Activists, loves doing habitat restoration for fun.


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