Celebrate with us the latest environmental justice victories of 2023!


Lisa Arkin, Executive Director of Beyond Toxics, welcomes guests to our 9th Annual Bee Jazzy Celebration in June.

Bee Jazzy is our biggest annual fundraiser supporting our Save Oregon’s Bees campaign. Each year, we host an outdoor jazz concert at Silvan Ridge Winery, hold a silent auction, and engage with our members. The event attracts new supporters each year. Bee Jazzy supports our efforts to promote safe and healthy ecosystems for our native pollinators, conduct research on native bee species, and provide educational activities for children and adults alike on ways we can Save Oregon’s Bees in our own backyards.

2023 Highlights



Senate Bill 488 - Medical Waste Incineration Bill

Legislative Victory: Oregon Senate Bill 488, sponsored by Senator Patterson and supported by several legislators, became law after passing the 2023 legislature. This groundbreaking achievement centers around municipal solid waste incinerators, promising positive impacts on environmental health.

Significance for Oregonians: Prior to the passage of SB 488, incinerator owners only tested for dioxins and heavy metals once a year. Now the Oregon incinerator will continuously sample for chemicals and report toxic pollutants to the public. This victory achieves cleaner air, polluter transparency, and the adoption of the most up-to-date technology, showcasing Oregon's commitment to a healthier environment.

Find out more about our 2023 legislative agenda


Climate Resilience Package (HB 3409 & HB 3630) - Natural Climate Solutions

Legislative Victory: The Climate Resilience Package (HB 3409 & HB 3630) successfully passed in the 2023 Oregon State Legislature, signifying a significant win to take action on the state's climate goals. This package ensures Oregon will leverage millions of dollars in federal funding and investments – an unprecedented opportunity!

Significance for Oregonians: This legislative triumph establishes funding for natural climate solutions to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration and soil improvements. It also leverages federal funding to build emergency networks, provide access to vital resources for impacted communities during disasters, expand support for climate-ready communities, and create family-wage jobs throughout Oregon.

Find out more about our 2023 legislative agenda



Photo courtesy of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management

Integrating Equity, Climate, and Health into Oregon's 50-Year Land Use Goals

Since winning the landmark passage of the Oregon Environmental Justice Framework in 2021, we've made significant strides toward reshaping local and state land use laws. For example, the Eugene City Council's recent unanimous approval of our proposal for a Public Health Protection Zone is propelling our concept towards imminent adoption. As we set our sights on the next legislative session, plans are underway to introduce a concept amending Oregon's land use goals, prioritizing public health, equity, and climate resilience criteria.

Looking forward to 2024, the Eugene City Council is actively considering implimenting our suggested ban new on gas station construction, developing an electric vehicle charging station masterplan, and stopping the installation of artificial plastic turf in public parks to combat microplastic pollution. Our efforts have gained wide recognition, with invitations to speak at regional conferences and institutions like the National Academy of Sciences.

Significance for Oregonians: This advancement signifies a meaningful impact on the integration of environmental and public health into land use laws, benefiting the health of all Oregonians and safeguarding our ecosystems and watersheds.

Learn more about our campaign for Public Health Protection Zoning in Eugene

See our latest blog by Arjorie Arberry-Baribeault: "A Breath Of Fresh Air: Eugene's Bold Step Towards Pollution Control"

J.H. Baxter
A Breath of Clean Air for West Eugene

After Beyond Toxics’ persistent organizing, the J.H. Baxter creosote manufacturing facility in west Eugene closed in January of 2022, marking a significant milestone in the community's fight for cleaner air and safer living conditions.

Significance for Oregonians: This victory is a success story of the power of community action and community-led science to stop illegal pollution. Beyond Toxics’ innovative grassroots approach is resulting in far-reaching policy changes that other communities can replicate, including Public Health Zoning, Risk Bond Requirements for fossil fuel and hazardous chemical users, a moratorium on new gas stations and renewable energy projects benefiting vulnerable neighborhoods.

Read more about our Building a Fossil-Free Future campaign



Sunrise Sun above the ocean of garbage

Landfill Leaks and Climate Risks
Safeguarding Oregon Communities

Communities around the Coffin Butte Landfill, north of Corvallis, sought our assistance to help stop a plan to expand the landfill by 30% and understand the landfill's toxic impact. Collaborating with the community, our research uncovered alarming methane leaks and millions of gallons of landfill leachate containing high levels of PFAS discharged into the Willamette River every year. The Oregon DEQ has neglected to scrutinize and update Coffin Butte's air quality permit since it was issued in 2009. We successfully filed complaints to prompt state and federal action for compliance. In addition to seeking lasting policy change, Beyond Toxics also hosted a community-wide townhall attended by over 80 people and canvassed over 400 homes in the community closest to the landfill to better understand the community's experience of living downwind from a large waste dump.

Significance for Oregonians: Coffin Butte's methane emissions contribute significantly to global warming. Addressing these leaks is vital in mitigating climate change risks. Additionally, ending the practice of leachate dumping in Oregon rivers is crucial for safeguarding drinking water, salmon, and aquatic ecosystems from harmful pollutants.

Find out more about our Waste Management Project

Clean and Cool Air For All Project
Building Resilient Communities

Beyond Toxics community organizers worked with the Oregon Health Authority to distribute over 350 free air conditioners and air purifiers to low-income and at-risk households in Eugene and Springfield. This project advanced climate resilience for families during the intense summer heat.

So many of the community members we serve urgently need cool and clean air inside their homes, particularly in west Eugene where homes typically are not well weatherized and residents don’t have the means to install cooling infrastructure. We prioritized more than 50 households near the J.H. Baxter site, whose properties are now contaminated with high levels of cancer-causing dioxins.

As the EPA launches the groundbreaking initiative to remove dioxin-laded soils, neighborood families can breathe easier! Thanks to their new air-conditioners and air purifiers provided by Beyond Toxics, these househols now have relief from once dusty and polluted air.

Significance for Oregonians: By offering cooling and air filtration devices, we enhance residents' well-being, particularly those on Medicare and the Oregon Health Plan, or at elevated risk of heat-related or respiratory illnesses. The Air Conditioner and Air Purifier Giveaway project embodies our dedication to environmental justice at the community level.



L to R: Ana Colwell, Olivia Farnham, Rayna Viles, Emily Matlock, Alyssa Rueda, Krystal Abrams , Lisa Arkin

As we bid farewell to 2023, we're thrilled to share the significant strides our team has made this year.

Read the major update on our groundbreaking report, 'Beneath the Pump: The Threat of Petroleum Contamination,’ an in-depth look at the harm to neighborhoods and the environment from gas stations. Your continued support has made it possible for us to advocate for Oregon’s first moratorium on new gas station construction! We are determined to put a stop to new gas stations in our communities to reduce the risk of childhood cancer while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Our Fall/Winter Newsletter features our monumental achievements, chief among them the Climate Resilience Package, a testament to our relentless advocacy! This legislation, passed by the Oregon legislature last spring, not only secures vital funding to reduce climate drivers but also amplifies our commitment to support those hit hardest by climate change.

Crucially, our ongoing advocacy efforts with the Eugene City Council towards creating Public Health Protection Zoning, leads the way for a solution that breaks the cycle of environmental injustices throughout Oregon. With your support, we won the unanimous Eugene City Council vote to launch this seminal policy to hold industrial polluters accountable for their actions and prioritize public health. Raising our collective voices to say “No more J.H. Baxters” made a real difference!

By donating today, your contribution enables us to make a real impact, uplifting underserved communities to thrive amidst environmental challenges.

2022 Highlights



Environmental Justice for West Eugene
We advocated for pollution-burdened neighborhoods in West Eugene’s industrial corridor at every opportunity to strengthen weak air regulations! Our team worked with local communities to show Eugene city councilors the extent of pollution damage in West Eugene and offered solutions to correct the problem. They listened! Currently the Public Health Overlay Zone has broad support at city council and will likely come up for a vote in early 2023!

Find out more about West Eugene Community Health initiatives


Beyond Toxics Has Never Stopped Fighting Pollution! J.H. Baxter Closed on January 31st!

We worked for years to hold creosote manufacturer, J.H. Baxter, accountable for the harm they caused in West Eugene. After intense public pressure and mounting evidence of dangerous levels of toxic pollution, J.H. Baxter shut down operations on January 31st! J.H. Baxter was found culpable of burning off 1.7 million gallons of creosote waste water, violating their air and waste pollution permits and emitting dioxin that has now contaminated multiple residential and public properties. Dioxin is a highly poisonous substance that causes cancer and serious illness. While many questions remain about the company's accountability for the damage they have caused in terms of health, property safety, property values and environmental quality, J.H. Baxter's shut down will mean that West Eugene residents will be spared the noxious and nauseating creosote fumes that have ruined their wellbeing for so long! Read more

Read the 2022 J.H. Baxter Fact Sheet (PDF)

Read the 2022 West Eugene Air Quality Study, published by Beyond Toxics and Oregon State University (PDF) | Authors: OSU: Diana Rohlman, PhD; Beyond Toxics: Lisa Arkin, Exec. Director and Arjorie Arberry-Baribeault, West Eugene Community Organizer



Defending Oregon’s Climate Protection Plan

In 2021, Oregon took one of its biggest steps ever toward reducing climate pollution and delivering a stable climate for the future. Earlier this year, a consortium of fossil fuel and industrial polluter corporations filed a lawsuit to kill this precedent-setting climate action program! This summer we joined a coalition of environmental justice, climate, and business organizations to jointly file a legal intervention to oppose an industry lawsuit challenging the Oregon Climate Protection Program. We are currently intervening on this case to represent Oregonians who want to see stronger climate action in Oregon! Read more

Opposing New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

We joined a coalition of non-profits to intervene in a proposed project to build a new hydrogen blending project in west Eugene. In a big win for Beyond Toxics, local gas utility NW Natural withdrew their plans to begin an experimental hydrogen blending project in West Eugene! As interveners on the court case, we challenged the need for a new polluting fossil fuel infrastructure in over-burdened West Eugene neighborhoods and pointed out many of the environmental justice issues at stake.

Read Lisa Arkin's blog, "Victory for Clean Energy: NW Natural Withdraws its Hydrogen-Fracked Gas Blending Project in Eugene"


Gas tap with pipeline system at natural gas station.

Fog cover the forest.

Updating Statewide Climate Equity & Forest Policy
Legislation to create strong climate-centric policy for our forests and agricultural lands is being submitted and supported by a coalition of organizations, of which we are a co-lead. If passed the bill would create new funding to make the switch to climate smart timber and farm management. We also worked with The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to include much-needed updates to Oregon’s forest policies. ODF submitted its proposal to expand its agency budget for 2023-2025 which will be a high priority and focus point for the Forest Policy Sub-table. The proposed budget included one climate-centric policy option plan (POP), POP 100, that aims to increase the agency’s scientific capacity for climate-smart forestry practices. POP 100 also supports funding for increasing electric vehicle infrastructure at ODF offices statewide. We, along with other members of the Forest Policy Sub-table (under the Oregon Climate Equity Network’s Natural and Working Lands Policy Table), are working to advance and prioritize POP 100. We submitted testimony on the 2023-2025 proposed ODF budget, asking for the prioritization of the climate POP, and submitted similar testimony to Governor-elect Kotek’s transition team for inclusion in her upcoming Governor’s Recommended Budget.

Adding Community Artwork in Westmoreland Park
Our team coordinated the brand-new Willamette Wetlands of the Kalapuya Mural at the Coleman Community Center this spring! The mural was chosen for the Lane County History Museum as a landmark art installation and is being honored at the 2023 City of Eugene State of the City celebration. We worked with Kalapuya Cultural consultants, Esther Stutzman, David Lewis, David Archuleta, and artist muralist Susan Applegate to design and paint the mural with assistance from muralis Esteban Camacho Steffenson. A series of webpages features a cultural curriculum developed by Susan Applegate and scientific wetland plant drawings by Beyond Toxics’ former intern Gabriella Bird. We are adding educational materials and lesson plans for grades 5-8 to this resource for free public access. 
Read more


See also Willamette Wetlands of the Kalapuya: A New Mural and Educational Project (PDF), a detailed mural guide written by Susan Applegate, Mural Artist


Strengthening Statewide Air Quality Monitoring and Data Collection
Beyond Toxics started a new Air Quality Monitoring team this year to watchdog local industrial polluters while measuring air pollution in order to hold them accountable! Our first goal is to identify different communities impacted by poor air quality and create a priority list of ones to support with air quality monitoring projects.


Photo (left): Meet Panchal and Paige Hopkins prepare an air monitor for deployment in a Southern Oregon neighborhood.

  • Coffin Butte Air Quality testing project
    This summer we began with community members, including high school students, to carry out air quality testing around the Coffin Butte landfill. We created multiple maps, graphs, and charts to track preliminary patterns on pollutants. This grassroots coalition is working to take a stronger, data-informed stance against the Coffin Butte Landfill expansion.

  • Southern Oregon
    We collaborated with Unite Oregon Rogue Valley for a new project to install Purple Air air quality monitors in the Talent-Phoenix area. The purpose of the project is to provide residents accurate, real-time and localized air quality data. Access to this type of data can help people make informed choices to protect their health during poor air quality days, particularly during smoky air inversion events. Air monitors are loaned to selected residents at no cost.

  • Springfield International Paper
    This year we made Springfield air quality a priority! We are now working with local residents to set up Purple Air monitors to collect data on particulate matter on a 24-hour basis. We are also planning to collect additional data on ambient air quality.

  • Covanta Waste Incinerator
    We are an active clean air watchdog on Covanta Marion, one of Oregon’s most dangerous polluters. We organize a monthly community coalition called Clean Air Now. This year we conducted an environmental study where we analyzed local moss for the presence of heavy metals that may be coming from Covanta. The results showed the presence of lead, cadmium and mercury, which may indicate increased exposure in the mid-Willamette Valley communities around Covanta Incinerator. Read more

    See: Covanta Waste Incinerator Investigation Report (PDF)

    See also: Banishing the Burn: Opposing waste incineration in the Willamette Valley (PDF) by Surya Rainwater Lee | Surya Lee, a student at Willamette University, was an intern with Beyond Toxics in 2022. This was her assigned research project.

Protection from Pesticides

Beyond Toxics has provided direct assistance to a number of communities and individuals dealing with pesticide exposure and trying to navigate the obscure process of filing a pesticide complaint. We are working with state agencies to better regulate highly volatile pesticides and reduce pesticide use in parks and on schoolyards.

Spraying weeds in the garden


Building New Youth Leadership

Rise as Leaders continues to grow! The Beyond Toxics team has expanded this program to two yearly cohorts to offer free workshops and training to educate, empower and facilitate environmental action within communities of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Eugene at the nexus of climate, environmental and racial justice. In this year's workshop, we offered our expertise to local high school and college students who want to be the next generation of leaders within the climate sphere. Our curriculum highlights Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, Just Transition Framework, Politics of Planning/Built systems in Eugene, and Emergency Management. Read more

Exploring Nature with Young Oregonians
Beyond Toxics partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley to host outdoor education and Environmental Justice youth activities during 2 one-week sessions this summer. Week one was at the Boys and Girls Club at the Coleman Community Center at Westmoreland Park. Activities were centered around the Wetlands and the Kalapuya mural and focused on pollinator protection and regenerative ecosystems, and cultural uses of plants.


The Oregon state capitol building with daffodils and cherry blos

Advocated for the Successful Private Forest Accord
We advocated for the Private Forest Accord (PFA) to get it passed out of the legislature and onto the Governor's desk! The package of bills passed and brought a monumental win for Oregon forests and came after decades of hard work by community members, organizers, and scientists calling for change! Despite some hard compromises, the PFA is the first major update to Oregon’s logging rules on private forest lands in decades. The PFA provides significant new protections for fish and stream-dwelling frogs and salamanders, and for cold clean water. The result will help people who rely upon these vital resources. It also overhauls the existing Oregon Forest Practices Act to provide better protections for wild salmon streams on more than 10 million acres of private Oregon forestlands. While there is still work to go, this huge step forward in Oregon’s forest policy is worthy of celebration!

Achieving The Lane County Climate Resilience Plan
We joined the Lane County Climate Equity and Resilience Task Force to hold a series of stakeholder meetings to develop climate resilient strategies that are equitable and address the needs of all Lane County communities. The strategies developed from these meetings and workshops were included in the Equitable & Resilient Climate Strategies for Lane County, Oregon report. We worked with the Task Force to bring local communities into the planning process of the Lane County Community Climate Resilience Plan. On December 12, 2022, the Board of Commissioners officially voted “YES” to adopt the plan! Next steps include a process for the community to stay involved in future phases of the plan to guide the county toward strong climate action. Read more



Provided co-leadership for the Fossil Free Eugene Coalition
On November 21st, more than 100 community members came out to give testimony in support at the Eugene City Council hearing to support the city’s proposed policy to phase out gas in new homes over climate and health concerns. If this ordinance was approved, Eugene will require all-electric new buildings in residential construction, with the goal of transitioning existing residential and commercial buildings from gas by 2035. This hearing was the last chance for public comments to be given before the city council votes on the ordinance early next year. We were excited about the amount of turnout in support of the ordinance because of the years of organizing Fossil Free Eugene has done to get to this point.

2021 Highlights

Building a community-based and justice-driven environmental movement!



Beyond Toxics led the effort to form the Air Quality and Environmental Justice Community Coalition in West Eugene to keep working towards cleaner air for West Eugene communities.

"Beautician Turned Environmentalist: Arjorie's Story," an interactive project created to highlight Arjorie Arberry-Baribeault's journey from beautician and mother to an engaged activist for environmental justice was started earlier in the year by Beyond Toxics intern, Mashal Rahmati Copperman. The StoryMap was launched in December.

We hope Arjorie's story will help inspire others to join our efforts or the efforts of neighbors in your your community for environmental justice and clean air and water.

Beyond Toxics filed a petition to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to limit certain uses of Crossbow herbicide and similar formulations of 2,4-D Ester & Triclopyr Butoxyethyl Ester.

The petition proposed that Oregon require such formulations be registered as Restricted Use Pesticides in Oregon. (They are currently General Use products.) Discussion with ODA remains ongoing.




Beyond Toxics played an important role in moving key legislation foward in the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session, including:

Beyond Toxics led the effort to adopt SCR 17, our proposed Resolution for Environmental Justice Principles at the Oregon state legislature. SCR 17 requires state agencies to apply an environmental justice framework to their program and policy work. The resolution passed with bi-partisan support!

Beyond Toxics convened the strong coalition of organizations to promote HB 2488 and nearly passed the Equity and Climate in Oregon's Land Use System. This work helped kick off a new era of meaningful statewide action on equity and climate justice in land use laws.

Beyond Toxics helped with the passage of 3 pioneering green energy bills.

See the full list of bills we championed and supported in collaboration with other groups in Oregon.


Beyond Toxics worked to encourage Willamalane to end use of most toxic pesticides at Dorris Ranch orchards
Willamalane Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors voted to stop using highly toxic pesticides for the historic hazelnut orchards in Dorris Ranch! Jennifer Eisele coordinated outreach with Springfield neighbors and led the concentrated advocacy campaign that generated hundreds of community comments and stories in support for organic land management at Dorris Ranch.

See our page on the initiative, "Dorris Ranch Hazelnut Orchard Transition to Organic."


See Willamalane to end use of most toxic pesticides at Dorris Ranch orchards - by Adam Duvernay, Register-Guard, Dec. 10, 2021 - PDF

"The Willamalane Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors voted Wednesday to stop using its most potent forms of pest and disease management at the historic filbert orchards on Dorris Ranch in Springfield. The move follows a summer of concerns about pesticide use there and a committee's recommendation to switch to organic practices."


Unique Summit Convened for Environmental Justice
Our signature project, Oregon’s first Environmental Justice Pathways Summit, culminating in 2021, provided deep education in contemporary topics, from water justice to the right to clean air. The Summit resulted in the introduction and passage of an environmental justice framework for state agencies by the state legislature. It also inspired professors at the University of Oregon College of Education to create the state’s first environmental justice curriculum for high schools.

See the EJ Pathways Summit playlist on YouTube->>

Climate Protection Program
It took a concerted, coordinated effort of a coalition of Oregon environmental groups (including a special campaign run by Beyond Toxics), but the pressure exerted by concerned Oregonians in the fall yielded a much stronger Climate Protection Program from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in mid-December. See our webpage: "Climate Protection Program"

See also: "Oregon panel OKs plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions" - By Peter Wong December 16, 2021



Overhauling forest management
Beyond Toxics was one of ten environmental groups working for over 2 years to reach an historic agreement with timber companies to overhaul the Oregon Forest laws. The effort, starting with passing a bill to deal with aerial helicopter sprays in 2020 to the 2021 agreement to drastically renovate how endangered species, fish habitat streams and riverbanks are protected from logging.

See also: "Oregon environmental groups, timber companies strike ‘extraordinary’ compromise, signaling end to November ballot fight" - By Rob Davis and Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian/OregonLive

NEAT Camp: A unique program for Lane County youth

Jennifer Eisele and Krystal Abrams run our Regenerative Ecosystems programs. Last summer they used their incredible knowledge of the natural world to help create an innovative outdoor summer camp for local BIPOC pre-teens: Nature Exploration Adventure Teams (NEAT) Camp. Working with our partners at the UO Museum of Cultural and Natural History, Jennifer and Krystal put together exciting, culturally-sensitive, and environmentally-relevant activities to keep these kids engaged for a series of camps focusing on nature and environmental justice.



Youth Rising as Leaders
Beyond Toxics, NAACP Eugene-Springfield and Unete Farm Worker Advocacy Center ran the first Rise as Leaders environmental justice training for BIPOC people across the state. The program succeeded in inspiring 5 trainees to become environmental justice interns. The second training begins early in 2022!

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