The crux of that is that particulate pollution had a low correlation with passenger car volume, and a high correlation with trucks. Indeed, they found low utilization trucking routes had worse pollution than the busiest highway in North America (which would have been much more pronounced if the latter didn't also have significant truck volume).
Though it is worth noting that there are a number of worse sources of particulate pollution. Wood burning fires, for instance, or home gardening equipment with virtually no pollution control.
How can one group be 'exponentially worse' than just one other group? How can you see an exponential relationship between two data points? That doesn't make any sense. You'd need to be looking at a relationship between at least three data points to say it was exponential.
Language evolves, and not always for the best.
Also, to address the definition of "exponentially", I refer you to the second definition here :
-- "any positive constant raised to a power."
Think about it - you can express any change from A to B as a positive constant raised to a power. So if that's what you think it means then you're saying any change from A to B is rising 'exponentially'.
You’re definitely right that wood burning stoves and static plant are big sources, although location of emission is very important, someone using garden machinery intermittently on their own property or a wood burning stove out in the country is mostly polluting themselves, the same can’t be said for a freeway being driven through an urban neighbourhood.
Big trucks, however, couldn't make the transition as quickly, and for the necessary torque still rely upon diesel. And they've gotten away with much, much worse, though again California is taking the lead and in the next few years older trucks will be banned from the roads.
Regarding the location of particulate sources, I've read that even in London, England, something like 75% of the particulate matter is from outside the city, blown in from farms and rural areas.
That's probably dust from the London Underground, which is mostly iron (from the rails and wheels), brake dust (ceramic) and dead skin.
Something like turning off water is something anybody (also the campaign agency) can comprehend. Turning off water safes water, easy.
Now think about trying to reduce exhaust pollution, you can't see it, people don't know how much pollution is generated by a car, and most importantly: there is no easy solution to reduce it. Yes, you can ask people to leave their car at home and commute to work by bike, but that does not work for everybody and reduces comfort for most people.
The campaign agency could have done an awareness for exhaust pollution, but that would have been much harder to do, and probably they won't make much friends while doing so. Where as something easy as a water saving campaign will give that loads of goodwill.
Or am I missing some sort of sarcasm joke?
If they're (hypothetically) a commercial driver, spending the day at work driving around in an 1980s diesel truck, or installing golf course sprinkler systems, they'd still feel that they're an environmentally responsible person.
If the ad campaigns instead of suggesting toothbrushing habits informed the public of the disproportionate pollution caused by old trucks or vilified inefficient agricultural watering practices, that person might have a 100x more effective impact from their personal obligation if they advocate replacement of the truck or change agricultural practices. Also, consumers of these polluters might help encourage change by, say, preferring a waste disposal company that uses newer trucks or by changing consumption to eat peanuts grown with rainwater instead of desert-grown aquifer-fed California almonds.
Realistically there could be a new initiative like that 1-5 times a decade. Society rarely behaves in the most optimal way, and as I said saving water is very low effort, though it might also be low impact. The real faillure not following up with more and better initiatives.
What if none of the available waste disposal companies are using newer trucks, are you supposed to call them every week like with congress people?
And how is buying a bag of peanuts branded with some promise of ecological responsibility any different from saving water brushing their teeth? A single bag of peanuts from a different brand doesn't make any impact by it self and it only serves to make people feel like they've done their part adequately.
By analogy, if you were trying to help someone get out of debt, would you advocate they take unpaid time off work to walk along the roadside collecting cans for the deposit, or work overtime hours at $50/hr?
There's limited energy and funds available for these initiatives; by advocating ineffective ones more harm than good is done.
Goal is not to make a difference, it is to make you feel better for yourself.
So it really depends on the situation as well.
Sure there was some building of some sort there back in their 1962 photo. But that isn’t Harriet Tubman school we are talking about today. The school was only opened in 1982. Built after pressure by community activists who wanted a school in their neighborhood. Further it was actually closed in 2012 and then reopened in 2018. With much written at the time of reopening about the pollution problem.
So really the “villain” (if there should be one) would have to be Portland Public Schools that built, closed, then reopened a school next to an existing traffic sewer. In 1980s it is somewhat forgivable mistake, we weren’t as aware then. But in 2018 they knew full damn well the pollution problem. Nobody can deny that.
This school shouldn't be there. Is pollution bad? Yes. Was Robert Moses and his cohorts a disaster for urban environments? Yes. Do cities need to be greener and have better transit? Yes. But still, the school simply shouldn’t be there. So the article really falls apart on a number of levels.
In this case I think people using the existence of the school to campaign against this freeway project are doing a selfish disservice to the students. I'm generally anti-freeway, very pro-transit, very pro-urban. But let's be clear: the current levels of pollution are unacceptable as is, regardless of widening. The school shouldn't stay where it is even if the freeway doesn't get widened. So the people using it as a prop in their campaign to prevent widening are essentially arguing it is fine to stay where it is. This is sad and IMO a selfish use of this bad situation for the students of this school by the anti-freeway campaigners.
fueleconomy.gov will let you look up cars, and the "Energy and Environment" tab will show you CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, each on a grams/mile driven scale.
A 2019 Volve V90 station wagon emits 328g/mile of CO2 and 444g/mile of GHG.
A 2019 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid emits 51g/mile of CO2 at the tailpipe and 140g/mile total including the upstream electricity production, assuming you live in Beverly Hills.
A 2019 Tesla S P100D emits nothing at the tailpipe and 120g/mile.
A 2019 Honda Accord Sport/Touring is 345g/mile CO2 and 410g/mile total GHG.
Does that help?
That's the general case, though. This school might be dealing with other particulate sources, as another comment mentioned a large number of industrial sources nearby (e.g. cement plants are a big source). In which case maybe the school just isn't in the best place.
And it's worth noting that we now measure and pay attention to this but it was much worse in the past. Smelling the wonderful smell of a wood burning fire is usually an indication that you're in a dangerous particulate zone.
Also, there's no "unemployed exemption" to property tax, that I know of.
Of course there are retirees who don't work but own real estate. These folks generally own cars, but don't drive them as much as those who work, yet they generally don't have children or even grandchildren in the schools and yet have to pay for the schools. Which is fine.
The category of people who don't have cars is largely comprised of people who don't have jobs because if you don't have a car you can't get to work. These people don't own real estate. They generally live with others who do, or in subsidized housing and live off government benefits of some kind or another such as disability or aid for people with dependents.
* A Calportland cement facility (2500 ft mi)
* A Union Pacific rail yard (4000 ft)
* Tyree Oil, a small petroleum distributor (1200 ft)
* What looks like a power transfer station (2000 ft)
* At least two glass-makers and a ceramics studio (<1000 ft)
* A sheet metal fabricator and neon sign manufacturer (1100-1400 ft)
This article appears to have originated with a Bike Portland (and No More Freeways) campaign against freeway expansion and for decongestion pricing.
"Peak hour, drive alone commuters from Clark County, Washington have average household incomes of $82,500; and 75 percent of them are white, non-Hispanic. More than two-thirds of Tubman students are people of color; and half the student body is poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price meals."
- it describes only "peak hour, drive alone commuters" without apportioning the fraction of total pollution caused by that group.
- How much does evening peak rush-hour pollution affect school-day air quality? (morning peak would probably have a direct effect)
- by dealing with averages, it obscures the distribution - it could be that the majority of the pollution is caused by lower-income commuters driving older vehicles, but Tesla-driving higher income commuters drive up the average income
- it assumes that the money paid for the pollution somehow belongs to the students, when it is apportioned from the tax dollars paid that fund the school district budget. Maybe those dollars already come from the high-income commuters.
- it brings in race purely to add to the emotional content of the narrative
If you disagree, please describe why you find this narrative rationally compelling.
"I destroyed one of your points, and I could foresee myself doing the same with the others if I bothered to answer them. Therefore it's invalid for you to raise these questions."
I'd also point out that you didn't actually address any of the questions listed. A general study about American vehicles as a whole being single occupancy doesn't imply much of anything about this particular case, hence "by dealing with averages, it obscures the distribution", which you demonstrated with your response, rather than undermined.
However, we mustn't forget that there are families living on 41K combined (two parents @minimum). Or 20K (single mom @minimum).
80K is far from rich. But quite comfortable compared to many, many, Americans.
In fact, gasoline cars since port injection have made negligible amounts of particulate emissions (which is the only pollution that matters in this case, CO2 are only globally important). Direct injection might screw everything up soon (their intake valves foul like crazy).
The emitters, therefore, are ppl with old cars; tractor trailers; city buses ; working class ppl driving, old ill maintained vans and pick ups.
Really, the only significant particulate emissions I can think of from rich suburbanites are their gas mowers and blowers. But they're (a) polluting the air around their homes (b) quickly switching to electric.
Now, if you want the rich sub-urbanites to pay to relocate the school, that's cool. I'm down. But they're really not the problem.
 In my mid western city, at least, the buses are diesel powered and not LNG, and they appear to have the particulate filters ripped off. Dunno about Clark County's buses in particular.
I don't know the particulars in this case, but in the mid 20th century it was a very common strategy to run main arteries into the city through the poor & ethnic inner city neighborhoods (not to mention tearing those neighborhoods down and destroying their communities for "urban revitalization"), hence the historical assumption of poorer city residents dealing with the noise & pollution of the rich suburban commuters. As time goes on this will become less and less true thanks to America's urban renaissance, but still property values near expressways tend to be much lower due to the noise pollution & air pollution.
Interestingly, the most high-profile American expressway failure (in Manhattan) gave rise to one of the most valuable urban regions in America. I personally doubt this is a coincidence.
If you have never met them consider yourself upper crust, but there exists a substantial population in the US and all other western countries of those who can not afford a car. You often don't see them because it turns out traveling any substantial distance from your often impoverished neighborhood without functional public transit or private car ownership can be quite prohibitive.
So even the guy driving the "clunker" car down this highway is still probably in the upper half of wealth in the area, easily, assuming they are actually affording to inspect, license, and insure themselves and their vehicle. A lot of people don't, but its a bit egregious to try to count people breaking the law driving on the road in the first place as contributing to the average wealth of the drivers on said road.
taxpayers have been footing the bill: Oregon is the third highest taxed state in the country and portland is a high tax city. and property taxes are set to increase again this year, after last years increase. this is on top of congestion pricing, increases in vehicle registration costs, and gas taxes.
public transit gets shutdown not because it's unrealistic--anything is feasible if you throw enough money at it--but precisely because it's a massive waste of taxpayer money.
California just learned the hard way, but at least Newsom had the balls to call-it-quits on the idiotic high speed rail project. well at least you'll be able to go from Merced to Bakersfield or whatever it is. how many billions were spent on that again?
Public transit just isn't a waste of money by just about any measurement. The travel and density it enables produces far more economic value than the cost of construction. By international standards, the high speed rail in California is quite expensive and they should be working on ways to bring that cost in line with other countries. But at the end of the day, California would be better off with high speed rail in the long term. Take New York City. They would be far less wealthy if they didn't have a subway system. You would need far more roads, cars, and infrastructure to support that population if it weren't for the subways. Everyone there would be poorer for it. By that same token, cities like LA and San Fransisco could be far wealthier if they had public transit that matched their population and density. Creating far more wealth and taxes dollars that can be used to subsidize those roads in Iowa or social security checks in Vermont, benefiting everyone.
Everything sucks, there is serious injustice, and no foresight to building the highway.
Portland still needs the highway and the school. So just use the highway's powers to make room for a school.
If you don't have foresight, then at least make things right.
The school needs to move regardless of whether the freeway is widened or not. I've tried pointing out elsewhere that the article is incorrect in identifying a building on that location in 1962 as being the school. The school was not opened on that location until 1982.  Further is was closed in 2012 then reopened in 2018.  In 1980s we may not have known about the pollution problem. But by 2018 when it was reopened there are countless articles about the pollution problem and concerns with the schools location that clearly demonstrate the school district knew of the problem.
The only solution can be to move the school. But having invested in reopening it I can see why the school district will be very hard to move on that.
Don't drivers pay taxes, which also go to the school district - so actually, the vehicle drivers ARE paying for it?
Not that I want to justify the situation. But the spin seems wrong.
Also, in a twist, the kid's family may only be able to afford living in the school's district because pollution makes it unattractive to live in.
As the Macron government in France learned the hard way, underpricing one mode of transport for decades has a profound effect on multiple other markets, and suddenly trying to correct it has a very real human cost. When driving is underpriced, public transport can't compete, and investment in it wanes. Meanwhile, residential development adapts to automotive transport with sprawl.
And so a significant part of the population has no fallback if they become priced out of driving. A good policy solution must take the transportation, housing, and labor markets into consideration when pricing in the externalities of driving.
1. If the drivers are in a different district, their taxes are primarily going to other schools.
2. The drivers aren't paying taxes to pay for this that bikers, bus-riders, and remote workers don't also pay, so it's not correcting the externality. It's not that the drivers are paying for it; the drivers and everyone else are paying for it.
As for 2, i was assuming there are specific taxes for cars, or at least for petrol. That's the case in my country, don't know how it works in the US.
There are petrol taxes and car registration fees, but that mostly goes to funding road construction and maintenance. This makes sense at first glance, but the article illustrates that it's missing a lot of the costs of driving.
Public education in the US is funded to a large extent by local property taxes. (The result is that rich neighborhoods have considerably better-funded schools than poor neighborhoods.)
Commutes in the US are commonly long enough that it's entirely normal to find people end up driving through poor school districts, while their education-directed dollars go mostly to their own schools. If dealing with the pollution comes from the local district's property taxes (or simply leaves the students breathing polluted air), you've got an uncorrected externality.
In many states and certainly federally, the fuel tax does not pay for the roads themselves, much less their externalities.
One of the many ways that driving is subsidized, is that nobody is paying property taxes for the property that the roads use.
In most cases, local property taxes are earmarked for the local municipality, so in many cases, the inner city school does not get funding from the commuter.
Furthermore, many states with a highly disparate representation of suburban/rural vs urban representation (ie counties and cities based on geography), tax revenue is often taken from the city to support suburban/rural initiatives and roadways - this is also true on the federal level (ie Manhattan is a giver to rural military bases)
Not collecting property taxes for roads would be just another way of the government paying for the roads.
The highway carries a lot of cummuters from Clark County in a different state.
> twist, the kid’s family may only be able to afford...
The district used to be poor and black (back when the school was created) its pretty middle class and gentrified these days though. The freeway that cuts through there mostly is surrounded by industry and a hospital until it gets further north of the school. Part of this widening proposal is actually to cap sections of the freeway where it cuts through the more commercial part to the south of the school.
Unfortunately the school is really in a shit place regardless of widening or not. It shouldn’t be next to a freeway.
As the article points out, and as has been known for decades, car drivers don't pay for most of the external costs they cause, and this is an excellent example of that.
Of course it's possible they don't pay enough, but that has nothing to do with that particular school.
Also, it stands to debate of the kids are forced to live in the pollution.
While the article mentions that the school was there before the highway, the students were probably not born yet. So they (or their parents) made a choice to live there and go to that school.
We could imagine many tech examples similar to the school and highway :
- An ISP provides a connection with poor delay/jitter and it creates problem for software developers (Skype, multiplayer games,...) --> should the ISP compensate the developers or the developers pay the ISP to fix the problem?
- A developer is selling created a program that degrades the performance of another program if they are both run simultaneously. Who should pay who to compensate/fix the problem?
Also it assumes transaction costs are negligible, ie in the example in the article, the negotiations between the railway and the farmer can be done cheaply and quickly. This is somewhat like assuming a frictionless plane in physics.
Its the same reason "urban farming" is ridiculous. You end up spending way more in technology to make urban settings livable for plant life than you get back in value from having the plants in the first place.
If you want environmental boons like you describe, you want to dramatically expand nature preserves and increase the density of human settlement so we consume less of the livable footprint of the Earth with our societies and pollute the world less all the same.
This isn't a problem to hide behind a row of malnourished trees.
Many like to attack higher gas taxes as 'regressive', but they are fair. The more pollution you create, the more you pay.
Or, we can increase (re-implement?) the "gas guzzler" tax. Anything that gets <20mpg (or whatever value) pays an extra annual tax. Removes actual consumption from the scheme, but still provides an incentive to buy fuel-efficient vehicles.
Note that the black-circled spots are monitors inside the building.
Here's the report with details of the monitoring equipment and the recommendations.
1) Traveling by private automobile has huge negative externalities.
2) Highways are usually built in economically depressed areas.
It's not that easy though because you need to take the chemistry into account. Some pollutants react distructively with others, so if you reduce those first you'll get more pollution than before. Oops. (China is in that situation, for example.)
I get that it is coming out of the budget of the school, but ultimately the taxpayers _are_ paying for it, albeit in a round-about kind of way.
In many large states (Texas, California, NY) schools are almost fully state funded.
 Yes that was an exaggerated response - but not by as much as you might think. https://www.texastribune.org/2019/02/15/texas-school-funding...
Have you looked at a map of where this school is ? It's literally between the Washington/Oregon border and downtown Portland. Why wouldn't there be a large commuting population in the Wash State Portland suburbs into downtown Portland?
I'm not deeply familiar with Portland's geography, but it sure looks to me like the urban area goes right up to the Columbia river, so "the traffic thinning out once it leaves the city" would likely be... in Washington.
Its part of why "bake sales" to fund schools are so common in many depressed and poor areas. Its also why schools are so strongly incentivized to seek funding for sports, sports programs, and sports arenas. If you can build a fancy stadium on a state grant it can bring in supplementary income to keep the power on for general ed.
Private enterprise would only be interested in building schools for poor kids only offering public dollars if there were profit to be made from said dollars, which is innately more inefficient than a public school that simply operates at, or better, under cost - especially when that general income is coming from direct local residents.
Is it because of the pollution or because kids who live near highways come from poorer socio-economic environments? Kids who grow up in poor rural areas nowhere near cars also have performance and behavioral problems.
Also, some of the top schools in the NYC metro area are situated near highways or high traffic areas. Why aren't these kids affected as negatively? Could it be many of them come from higher socio-economic situations?
Finally, isn't it a bit disingenous to say poor kids pay for it when they don't pay taxes. Also, the article claims these kids receive free lunches, so most likely they parents don't make enough money to pay much in taxes. So the "wealthy" who pay taxes are already paying for the poor kids, their school and their air filtration system are already paying taxes to clean up the pollution. So they already paid, what more do they have to pay for?
Ideally, it would be great if every kid had a school in a middle of prisinte woods without any pollution, but then people would complain about the destruction of pristine nature.
There is a problem with car pollution. That is pretty common and has well known solutions.
But this article has zero numbers, zero solutions. It hijacks the problem and weaponizes it into hate and "class struggle". I read similar stuff in communist news-papers 30 years ago.
They don't have to, they aren't going to, and they wouldn't if given the choice.
 This is based on very brief search so may be incorrect. Actually this is odd the article shows a picture of the school being their before the freeway. Was that the school then or was that a building repurposed into the school? This is where I got the 80s thing from: https://expo.oregonlive.com/news/erry-2018/08/c7c3d773398362...
I’m trying to find out what it was before it became Harriet Tubman school but not finding anything.
(It doesn’t matter who was there first because we shouldn’t have a school there now. The problem should be corrected and moving the school is the only way. Air filters do not let kids play outside.)
Whether it was there first or not seems irrelevant anyway. If we care about the health of the students the whole school should be moved (unless you think we can move the freeway instead).
The article might be wrong, but then you'd react to that.