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corporate dominance | environment

People to Reklaim: NO. We STILL don't want you here.

It seems that the wealthy industrialists and the corrupt city officials who attempted to sneak a toxic waste dump into St Helens cannot take NO for an answer. Not even a resounding NO. Well, sooner or later, they will have to. Because we are NOT going to tolerate a tire burning plant here on the banks of the Columbia, in our community.
Earlier this month, the people of St Helens gathered to demonstrate their ferocious opposition to the attempt by Reklaim Technologies to site a tire burning plant in our town. We did so in spite of the sneaky, underhanded attempt on the part of our corrupt city officials (most notably, city planner Skip Baker) to sell us out. Baker made a backroom deal with Reklaim, and did not even bother to notify the people of this community that we were about to be assaulted by the dirty, smelly, toxic fallout that spells profit and dollars for a few, and poison and waste for the rest. Apparently, we were not worth consulting about this, as Baker did not want to be bothered with pesky public input.

Word got out, though, and before the ink was dry on the first checks, the people of St Helens were organizing. Neighbors went door to door to tell each other of the betrayal, clandestine meetings were held in our houses to plan our resistance, and we fought back. In spite of all the obstacles and treachery, the people prevailed. After a bloody fierce battle, we kicked Reklaim's filthy, dirty ass out of town. In no uncertain terms, we let them know that we will NOT tolerate their disrespectful, cavalier, profiteering schemes in our community. We fought them with all our might, because we understood that our lives depended on it. Skip Baker and the other colluding, corrupt, foolish, short-sighted asses who did not think it worth consulting with us hung their heads in shame and skulked away.

On the day after their stunning defeat, Reklaim officials issued a dark warning to the people of St Helens. Said their smug communique, "We will carefully consider our options and next steps as it relates to siting a facility in St Helens, Oregon." That's PR-speak for "Fuck you. We don't care what you think, or what you want for your own community. We want what you have, and we plan to just take it. We have The Law on our side. We have Money on our side. We have a handfull of corrupt, scheming city officials on our side. You haven't seen the last of us."

And so it was not really a surprise to learn, yesterday, that Reklaim has just filed an appeal to the ruling that handed them their walking papers. They decided that it should not matter that no one in St Helens wants their dirty, dangerous, toxic mess in our community. It should not matter that facilities like this one have proven harmful to the people who live near them. It should not matter that such facilities have devastated each and every community where they have been sited. It should not matter that the people of this community care more about the safety of their families than they do the bottom lines of a few wealthy industrialists who live far away, in mansions, in communities that do NOT have tire burning plants in them. The only thing that should matter, they say, is profit. They want our land, our air, our water, they say, and we should not be able to stop them from taking it. They want to convert our community, our "resources," into profit and who are we to stand in their way? Arrogantly spouting the elite "consensus" of the new global order, they have decided that the health and safety of "the little people" is irrelevant. The liveability of our community is irrelevant. The sustainability of our environment is irrelevant. The Law has elevated property, wealth and profit above all other worldly concerns, and they mean to capitalize on that.

Ah. Not so fast, though.

Because we have had more than enough. We have already been promised "safety" and "jobs" and then left poisoned by schemes just like this one. We know what their promises of "progress" really mean. Our eyes are open. And we are not about to give up this fight. If we must, we will take this apart brick by brick. There will be NO tire burning plant in St Helens, and these disrespectful, classist assholes who think that their lawyers and their dollars can make us not matter, because we are a poor, working class community, well they will see what it means to go against people who fight for their children, their families, their lives. They will see what happens when rich, arrogant, fools stray so far out of touch with reality that they imagine themselves somehow superior, somehow immune to the voices and indeed, the fury, of The People.

No. There will be NO tire burning plant in St Helens.

Reklaim is expected to attempt to make their case at the City Council meeting on July 19th, at 6pm, at the St Helens High School, in the Loowit room. When they have said their piece, it will be our turn. The People of St Helens ask for solidarity. We need a show of force. They will bring lawyers and ultimatums and fists full of money. WE need to bring our voices. We need to bring our bodies. We need to bring our comrades. We need to bring our strength and our courage and our commitment to protect each other from the predations of corporate America.

If you are an environmental activist, an environmental lawyer, or someone who cares about the earth and your comrades, please come to the City Council meeting on July 19th for this showdown. We thank you.

Previous articles on this issue 29.Jun.2007 12:29

St Helens resident

Remark of the Basic Conflict of the Development Commission Comprehensive Plan 29.Jun.2007 23:03


Thanks for sharing this. I am really glad to see from the previous articles the response from the people affected by this. Mercury is not something to intentionally release into the air, especially around an active citizenry. I have read the goals and policy of the St. Helens Comprehensive Plan.

So far, here is what I gather..

Goals and Policies:

-Citizen Involvement

"2) At least annually inform the citizens of the City of land use activities for the last year and proposed plans for land use activities for the coming year." (page 3)

Problem: The toxic waste building was supposed to be mentioned to the citizens ahead of time in the 'proposed plans'.


"2) Assist in programs to attract business and industries in terms of diversification and non-pollution rather than accept any business or industry which my wish to locate here; additionally, to prohibit industries with levels of pollution or other effects which would outweigh economic benefits or threaten the existing quality of living." (page 4)

Problem: The release of mercury in the air is a high level of pollution and has very toxic effects.

No. 01.Jul.2007 21:33

another st helens resident

This is just wrong. People who want to shit all over someone else's community should have to live in that community. They should not be able to come here and do this to us. We have been through this before, with Bergsoe. With Boise Cascade. With Trojan. We have learned not to trust men in suits promising "progress."

This effects everyone here in Cascadia. The Columbia river is our life's blood. All of us. It's the force that feeds and nourishes us, the vein that runs life into the heart of all of Cascadia. And these kinds of people keep coming in here trying to treat it like someone's toilet. Enough! None of us should ever tolerate any more dirty nonsense like this along this riverbank. The fish are already poisoned with mercury and arsenic and lead. You aren't supposed to eat them anymore, they're so toxic. Why would we want more mercury and arsenic and lead released into this environment, from a tire burning plant? Forget it. No. NO to Reklaim, NO to Skip Baker, and NO to any sell-out commissioners or scheming suits. No.

contact? 02.Jul.2007 11:57

kboo news pmnews@kboo.org

we are really interested in contacting the author of this article for KBOO community radio news ( http://www.kboo.fm). Please email us at pmnews[at]kboo.org or call 503-231-8032 ext. 203


People of ST. Helens united 02.Jul.2007 22:27

St. Helens resident notoreklaim@gmail.com

The people of this community are sick and tired of dirty industry being pushed on us not only by our own city officials but even more importantly by Oregon itself. It was the Oregon Economic Development who shoved this on us in the first place and on top of that offered this dirty TIRE "WASTE" INCINERATOR (yeah, i went there) tax cuts on top of it all! Where are the tax incentives for the small business owners and working citizens already here?!?! We instead give away our tax dollars to this toxic dump site?

We make rebuttals to all of "Rollie" Dawsons so called claims of 'technology speak' and yet none of our logical words seem to make so called 'criteria' to not let this leach of a company in! How may I ask can one argue with bullshit in the first place? How can Reklaim have the audacity to claim they produce 'renewable energy' in the first place?! Garbage isen't RENEWABLE!! The sun, wind and tidal power are renewable, NOT OLD TIRES! We have taken this to the media, we've held signs, gathered signatures and data that was far above and beyond any so called 'proof' that Reklaim has and yet we are still told that they've APPEALED?

This whole thing just stinks of ENRON.... of dirty low down corporations that think they can do what they want to whoever they want! We must flood our city council members and ESPECIALLY the MAYOR!! with emails saying NO!!!

On a good note we do have several enviornmental lawyers looking into the matter, an INCINERATOR watch-dog group from California and are preparing to circulate an initiative petition (THIS WILL GO ON THE BALLOTS IN SEPTEMBER!!!!!!!) to define 'garbage' and 'incinerator' in our City Charter that prohibits this within the 3 miles of schools, ect. We do need about 1000 signatures to get this put on the ballot tho!!!! so be looking for us! We will also once again be getting media contact (we got KPDX news last time around!) and be out on the highway again with information on the upcoming meeting and getting people to the hearing on July 19th (Which may have been moved to the County Courthouse in room 351 of the newer county building). Everyone PLEASE do anything you can to let your voice be heard! Even if you just show up and yell no along with everyone else!

I would love to get together with the author of that GREAT article and join forces, there are many groups of people gathering together and the more joining the better!!!

to the "st helens resident" above 03.Jul.2007 09:55

st helens resident who wrote the article

Hopefully, KBOO will speak with you (I don't like talking on the radio). :-)

YAY for all the work everyone is doing to keep this out of our community and off the banks of the Columbia river.

I would just add, KPTV et all is not "media." They are corporate media. Blah. Portland Indymedia is real media. As is KBOO. Together, we make the corporate media liars irrelevant. :-D

And thanks to comrades in the rest of Cascadia, who are coming together with us in mutual aid. This impacts all of us.