West Eugene Community Health
Polluting industries form a semi-circle around homes, schools and parks in West Eugene, causing disproportionate health impacts.
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Read Beyond Toxic - Ethos Magazine
Story by Clayton Franke
In West Eugene, 550,000 pounds of toxic emissions were released in 2019. This pollution - emitted in the 97402 zip code area - accounted for 96% of all the emissions released in the City of Eugene that year, and every year. Polluted air in West Eugene persists due to outdated zoning laws, housing built near pollution and weak air regulations. Air pollution is linked to heart ailments, lung disease, asthma attacks, cancer, and an overall reduction in life expectancy. These conditions have become the lived experience of the West Eugene community.
VICTORY! After intense public pressure and mounting evidence of dangerous levels of toxic pollution, JH Baxter, a creosote manufacturer and chronic polluter in West Eugene, announced it is closing its doors on January 31st. The company will keep a skeleton crew onsite to manage clean up requirements. Learn more
See also: "Public Pressure Brings Down Polluting Giant" by Lisa Arkin
Arjorie Arberry-Baribeault never envisioned herself on the front lines of the fight for clean air in West Eugene, but when her thirteen year-old daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she started asking questions. Arjorie’s search for answers led her to Beyond Toxics. Learn more
See the interactive presentation, "Beautician Turned Environmentalist" on ArcGIS's StoryMap
We collect stories from West Eugene neighbors who suffer the ill effects of a high concentration of polluting factories in close proximity to residential neighborhoods. Learn more
- POLLUTER JH BAXTER SHUTTING DOWN: Discovery of dioxin-contaminatED soil and intense pressure from Beyond Toxics and the West Eugene community leads to JH Baxter closing down.
- Initiated the Clear Lake Overlay Zone, a model local land use law that lifts up environmental justice, climate protection, and places restrictions on new heavy industry.
- Played a pivotal role in the adoption of Oregon’s Cleaner Air Oregon air quality regulations.
- Led the way to stop legislation seeking to give tax credits to carbon polluters and waste incinerators.
- Introduced toxics emissions reporting requirements that were adopted by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
- Successfully filed a complaint under the US EPA Civil Rights Office that required the local air regulatory agency to adopt environmental justice practices.
- Filed complaints that forced industrial polluters to clean up hazardous waste dump sites, stop surface water pollution and mitigate vapors from groundwater plumes.