Environmental Justice Bus Tours

Our first Environmental Justice Bus Tour was held in 2012: "A tour to the heart of our community"

An honored environmental justice tradition came to Eugene on April 13th, 2012. Beyond Toxics and Centro LatinoAmericano collaborated on a well-attended community toxics tour in West Eugene residential neighborhoods.


Luis Olmedo, Exec. Director Comité Civico


Resident Joanne Gross stands in front of her house while
a nearby plant (Flakeboard) emits toxics into the air.


Guest speaker and emcee: California environmental justice organizer Luis Olmedo, Executive Director of Comité Civico del Valle

For the first time in Oregon’s history, Beyond Toxics and Centro LatinoAmericano hosted an environmental justice bus tour into West Eugene’s Industrial Corridor neighborhoods to raise awareness about pollution issues the people who live there face every day.

According to the U.S. EPA , fifty air and toxic release sites and two Superfund sites are listed within the nine square mile area of West Eugene. Residents of West Eugene face the release of over 437,000 pounds of airborne toxic chemical emissions from industrial sources alone. (Source: City of Eugene Toxics Inventory – 2010). Those who live in these neighborhoods, such as Bethel, Trainsong and River Road, face more frequent and intense exposures than other areas of Eugene.

How can our community respond? What solutions can we offer? The bus tour was guided by environmental justice leaders and community members and visited multiple sites in each residential neighborhood where environmental hazards are suspected. (Download and read the EJ Bus Tour Program for details.)

Following the tour, community residents, elected leaders and representatives from federal, state, county and city agencies gathered at the Cascade Middle School. A spirited conversation followed with Luis Almedo's engaging facilitation.

The concept of an Environmental Justice Community Tour, or Toxics Tour, has been widely used throughout the nation as a grassroots community effort to engage residents and major decision-makers in addressing social and environmental justice issues.

As Lisa Jackson, the Administrator to the US Environmental Protection Agency, stated...

“...We must be sensitive to the burdens pollution has placed on vulnerable subpopulations, including children, the elderly, the poor and all others who are at particular risk to threats to health and the environment. We must seek their full partnership in the greater aim of identifying and eliminating the sources of pollution in their neighborhoods, schools, and homes.”

Special thanks for the community's support for this event, including:

Centro LatinoAmericano, our close collaborator
CAER (Coalition Against Environmental Racism)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Bethel School District
Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force
Mountain Rose Herbs
City of Eugene Human Rights Commission
Partners for Sustainable Schools
Organically Grown, Inc.
Coconut Bliss
Glory Bee
McKenzie Mist
Navarro Latin & Creole Kitchen

Thanks, also, to Cameron & Company for marketing assistance and customer care above and beyond the call of duty!


About the tour guide and guest presenter...
Luis Olmedo is the Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle, an organization located in Imperial Valley whose mission focuses on addressing environmental health related problems in the farm worker community. Luis has an established reputation as a leading community activist and advises local, regional, and state programs on environmental health issues affecting Imperial County and Eastern Coachella Valley.

Since joining comite civico, Luis has collaborated with academic and research institutions to expand environmental research in Imperial County, included Border Asthma and Allergy Study, Percholorate Biomonitoring, Agricultural Burning Study, water quality study, Pesticide Illness and Surveillance Project and Reducing Exposure to Unhealthy Air. Luis is a member of the American Lung Association Cancer and the Environment Team, Advisor California Department of Public-Health Tracking Program, Co-Chair Imperial County Environmental Justice Enforcement Taskforce, California Asthma Partners, and the Good Neighbor Environmental Board-Federal Advisory Committee. Luis is passionate about environmental justice where he is a member of various state and national networks that focus on environmental policy and regulations.


Ben Duncan is a policy analyst with Multnomah County Health Department, Environmental Health Division and Board Chair of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon which works for Environmental Justice in the Portland metro area. His work focuses on the relationship between health and the environment, through both policy and community based empowerment work, and touches all aspects of environmental health issues including food borne illness, vector control, air quality, toxics reduction, food policy and housing. Ben also works with the Diversity and Quality Team and the Health Equity Initiative which focus on equity and justice both within and outside the county. He is Chair of the Oregon Governor's Environmental Justice Task Force and serves on several other advisory boards and committees.