Who doesn’t jump at the chance to go to Bend?
Not me. When I heard that the final meeting of the DEQ’s Woodsmoke Workgroup would meet there, I jumped. I’ve even turned it into a 3-day getaway.
But my recreational enthusiasm for Bend is maybe a psychological avoidance – it’s tough to come up with concrete suggestions that the Oregon Legislature is asking for – they want ideas on reducing the harmful effects of woodsmoke, especially as it affects 7 mostly rural cities. See Oregon’s Woodsmoke Workgroup Wraps Up for more background.
Is my call for more education a little too soft?
I’m afraid that even a cleverly configured change-out program will barely make a dent in the effort to reduce woodsmoke. Although it will take a generation, we must start with the children of these affected communities, to educate them on the adverse health and economic impacts – it’s our best hope for long-term, broad-based change.from my public comment to the Woodsmoke Workgroup
The legislature is looking for action steps, not a combination of educational messages that could take decades to take root. Still, a long-term commitment to educating school-aged children is our best bet. The issue is entrenched in many rural Oregon communities, plus it has aspects of nostalgia and tradition that makes any short-term program unlikely to be very effective, especially when you consider that many homeowners don’t want government programs intruding.
When I began my mini-career as a bicycle advocate, my first mentor surprised me. Her advice: plagiarize!
Her point wasn’t to cheat, but to look to the success other cities had found; to follow best practices. It was advice I didn’t expect.
Apply this concept to mitigating the harmful effects from woodsmoke and you may, like I have, quickly land on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s website where they share new, hard-fought wood-burning regulations.
There are some clever ideas here. I’ve combined this list and 2 other new approaches in my public comments to the Woodsmoke Workgroup, download it here.