Families in Irvington have joined the growing number of Portland residents opposing cell tower construction in residential neighborhoods.
Irvington residents are fighting a Clearwire proposal to replace an existing 74-foot utility pole with an installation of multiple WiMax antennas onto a 91-foot tower. The site is on Stanton Street, between NE 23rd and NE 24th, a street lined with mature trees and historic homes.
Residents and Clearwire representatives will make their case at a community meeting this Wednesday, June 9.
This is the second meeting to discuss Clearwire’s proposal. The first meeting held May 27 included a heated discussion on what has proven to be a very controversial topic. As in other neighborhoods, Clearwire did not fulfill its notification obligations under its city contract for the first meeting. Neighbors lobbied the City for a second meeting to ensure the process was followed and a larger number of residents could participate.
Irvington residents oppose this 91-foot cell tower in a completely residential, low priority location because it is:
- Loud. Neighbors are concerned that the noise level of Clearwire’s cooling equipment, though vaulted, will pose a noise problem for the single-family homes surrounding the proposed site.
- Unhealthy. Even the FCC, which licenses cell towers, admits they have not been proven to be safe. Studies outside the U.S. demonstrate health effects ranging from insomnia to increased cancer for people living near cell towers.
- Ugly. A ninety-foot tower on a residential street is an eyesore and lowers property values.
Residents also wonder how this tower could affect Irvington’s proposed Historic District designation. This application is slated to be submitted to the US National Park Service for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Residents have worked for years to have Irvington’s historical significance recognized,” says Steven Cole, father of two young children and an Irvington homeowner just 200 feet from the proposed tower. “Now we are just a couple of months away from having our 110 year old community declared a Historic Place by the National Park Service. Clearwire’s proposal to erect a 90′ tower on a residential street in the heart of Irvington is a slap in the face to our community.”
Irvington neighbors were joined by Respect PDX, a city-wide coalition advocating for the responsible placement of cell towers and other wireless facilities in Portland. Respect PDX began as a group of Beaumont Wilshire residents opposing a cell tower in their local neighborhood and has quickly grown to include members from neighborhoods around Portland. The group asserts that the system for siting and approving these facilities is inadequate and is working to protect all residential neighborhoods from the inappropriate placement of cell towers.
Clearwire has launched a major WiMax service roll out in Portland and faces opposition in a number of other Portland neighborhoods including Alameda, Beaumont Wilshire, Sunnyside, Brentwood Darlington, Arbor Lodge and Mt. Tabor. Hundreds more wireless sites are expected to be proposed by companies in the next two years. Respect PDX wants the process modified to allow residents a voice in what happens on their streets.
Wednesday, June 9 at 7pm
1624 NE Hancock
Respect PDX representatives will be available for media interviews at 6.45pm outside the meeting room in Westminster Church.
For more information go to www.RespectPDX.org