Saturday, July 22, 2006

The House that You Live In

One of the big stories in the Harbor concerns the fish smells generated by Ocean Protein fish meal plant. Folks in the neighborhood adjoining the facility have been complaining since last year (when the plant opened). A local judge recently ordered the company to shut down the plant.

You can go to the link provided above to read about the sordid details. My concern centers on many of the comments in the Letters to the Editor section. A recurring theme is that people who live in said neighborhood -- which is in an industrial area -- shouldn't complain because, if you buy a house in such an area, you should expect to put up with pollution, noise and the traffic problems caused by big trucks.

What troubles me is the fact that I'm sure most of the people who live in this particular neighborhood didn't have very many choices when it came time to purchase their small slice of the American Dream. You see, when you're poor, about the only houses you can afford are in the least desirable locations. Consequently, I'm sure that few of the families that live in this neighborhood specifically chose it over other homes in more attractive environs.

The other factor that seems to be flying over most people's heads is that situations like these often are the result of poor land use planning. Why, in the first place, is there a residential neighborhood nestled within an industrial zone? Shouldn't there be some type of zoning buffer?

The easy answer is that, of course, a residential neighborhood shouldn't be situated within a stone's throw of an industrial area. Unfortunately, the people of the Harbor seem altogether oblivious to the very concept of land use planning.


  1. To add to your post, the University of Michigan recently released a study showing a disproportionate number of minorities and working poor living near toxic waste facilities.

    But wouldn't it be better for the environment if we all lived closer to our place of employment and didn't have to jump in our gas guzzling vehicles for the eight hours of wage slavery?

  2. Hey, Trey...
    Bob's right, of course. We should live closer to our work, but we shouldn't be working in toxic-waste facilities.

    Similar situation here in Eugene where a chemical plant that makes wood preservatives and other really nasty stuff is right across the street from a residential area. The smells from the plant have grown worse over the last few years because of changes in their processes and products, but you hear the same stupid arguments. "Well, if people didn't want to live near a chemical plant, they shouldn't have bought houses there."
    Of course, the closest neighborhoods are low-income, and of course, depending on the weather, the noxious fumes can waft over a mile away. Staying away from the stuff is not so easy!

    The bottom line is, we have to stop poisoning ourselves and the planet, no matter what.

  3. hey Trey

    Just bebopping by to say hi!

    land planning? more like greed planning.... greed always overrules common sense sadly.

    Hope all is well :) will catch ya laterz


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