Recognized as a Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI) in outer southeast Portland located at SE Division Street and 82nd Avenue, the Jade District was cited as a growing environmental justice area by the staff of APANO (The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) and OPAL (Organizing People and Activating Leaders). They called for assessments and prioritizing risk reductions strategies for On-Road Mobile (ORM) air toxic emissions and raise awareness around environmental health disparities stemming from exposure to air toxins in their communities.
Census tract 83.01, the only tract in the city with a majority of residents of color (53%), and the greatest concentration of Asian residents in the State. Census tract 83.01 is also the central tract of the ORM air toxics emissions hot spot identified by the 2012 DEQ’s PATS (Portland Air Toxic Solutions) Study and its 2017 Modeling Study for projecting pollutants. Multnomah County Health Department data also revealed that this neighborhood had elevated asthma rates and lower birth rates.
Complementing these reports and signaling a sense of urgency were the responses from an independent, community-led visioning throughout the summer of 2014 with nearly 200 Jade District participants in Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish and English. The workshops and a community wide charrette reinforced critical health, education and transportation concerns, and offered short, mid, and long term recommendations for government and community collaborations.
By early 2016, Oregon Solutions staff were approached by APANO and OPAL, and subsequently interviewed stakeholders from a wide spectrum of interests to explore aspirations, concerns, and opportunities to address air quality issues. By mid-August, a formal request signed by Gretchen Kafoury, Multnomah County chair, Tom Hughes, Metro Council President, Huy Ong, OPAL executive director, and Joseph Santos-Lyons, APANO executive director was sent to Oregon Governor Kate Brown to support the “Jade Greening” as a designated Oregon Solutions Project.
In a letter dated September 21, 2016, Gov. Brown responded by officially designating the Jade Greening Project as an Oregon Solutions Project because it met Oregon’s Sustainable Community Objectives. Gov. Brown also appointed Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow and Huy Ong as co-conveners to lead the Project Team of public, private, non-profit, and civic partners towards “innovative community solutions to addressing air quality issues in the Jade District of Portland, Oregon.”
A core Project Team was then identified from stakeholders and convened to contemplate community-centered strategies to ensure a breathable, accessible, livable, and prosperous Jade District, decide on focus areas, invite additional partners, and delineate commitments in a Declaration of Cooperation. The Declaration of Cooperation, while not a binding, legal contract, is evidence to and a statement of the good faith and commitment of the undersigned parties. The undersigned parties to the Declaration of Cooperation through a collaborative process, agree and pledge their cooperation to the findings, actions, and the subsequent implementation phase.
This declaration signing ceremony on Mark 3rd marks the culmination of work by community partners, government agencies in response to the voices of the residents of the Jade District to lay out a series of community-centered strategies to ensure a breathable, accessible, livable, and prosperous Jade District.
Focus areas guiding the state, county, city jurisdictions and non-profit organizations in this collaboration for at least the next five years include building community capacity of Jade District residents to engage in all levels of this work, monitor and improve air and environmental quality, reduce air and traffic toxins, continue data capture, assess health improvements and outcomes, improve pedestrian and traffic safety, and promote and support the greening of the Jade District with a tree canopy, new parks and green spaces.
Project Team Members:
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
Organizing People and Activating Leaders
OHSU Environmental Systems and Human Health
Friends of Trees
Columbia Land Trust Backyard Habitat Certification
Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions
State of Oregon DEQ – Regional Solutions/Metro Liaison
State of Oregon Department of Transportation
Multnomah County Office of Sustainability
Multnomah County Health Department
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
City of Portland Parks and Recreation, Urban Forestry Division
City of Portland Bureau of Transportation