February SNA Notes and March Plans

Sunnyside Piazza, Green New Deal, Air Quality, Clean-ups

The February SNA general meeting kicked off with a discussion on how to organize the painting project for Sunnyside Piazza at the corner of SE 33rd and Yamhill. Recent sewer repair and repaving has completely removed the bright sunflower street painting that was approaching its 20th anniversary last summer. The usually festive project is complicated by the pandemic and has more moving pieces than the painting itself. Those wishing to help can volunteer at pdxstreetart.org/articles-all/sunnyside-piazza.

Rachel Slocum and Mark Darienzo shared a video and led a discussion on the Green New Deal. They reminded neighbors that the 2019 resolution by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey was neither a bill nor a policy, but rather a proposed framework for dealing with climate change and social justice. The discussion elicited comments about the desirability of electric cars, dealing with the problem of those whose jobs are displaced, and the overwhelming nature of such sweeping federal policy. Many neighbors may be familiar with Tom Friedman’s use of the term “Green New Deal” in 2007, or with the Green party or Sunrise movement. However, many may be surprised by how closely President Biden’s climate policy framework of “standards, investment, and justice” mirrors the GND.

Greg Bourget of Cascadia Climate Action continued the environmental theme with a presentation on local air pollution. Greg notes that Oregon ranks poorly in air quality among U.S. states (and last by some measures) mainly because of lax emission standards. (The good news is that there are no serious air polluters in Sunnyside.)

Finally, the SNA took up the issue of dumpsite clean-ups. Vincent Dawans, one of those involved in many recent neighborhood clean-ups, was asked by the board to pursue a grant from SE Uplift to defray the costs of trash disposal. Many thanks to Vincent and all the other neighbors helping each other during this trying time. I hope to see you all at the March meeting. Stay safe.

Dave Boush