Since fall 2017, long time Cully resident Andrew Pritchard, with the help of a few close friends, has been fighting a battle not many people know about which affects the quality of life of thousands of Portlanders. Andrew has spent countless hours researching, contacting advocates, lawyers, and neighborhood associations, attending meetings, writing a petition, printing and distributing fliers, and collecting signatures. His efforts are all in the name of something most of us take for granted: the ability to live in a city where fighter jets DO NOT fly in the sky above our homes.
Andrew has purchased a website URL, www.NoJetsPortland.com , and three billboards in the Cully area, all with the goal of raising awareness as the Oregon Air National Guard tries to get the Port of Portland to allow them to greatly increase disruptive fighter jet flights over Portland neighborhoods. He has taken time off from work at a local brewery and spent significant money out of his own pocket on printing expenses, billboard design, and will continue to see the expenses grow as he intends to hire a lawyer to pursue the cause of justice. Let’s give something back to Andrew as he advocates for us.
In 2017, the Oregon Air National Guard (ORANG), which has a base at Portland International Airport, conducted a trial period of increased fighter jet flights over Portland residential areas to practice Overhead Continuous Descent Approaches (OCDAs). The World Health Organization rates OCDAs and other high intensity airplane noise as a serious physical and mental health hazard. Furthermore, shifting flight patterns and noise from a primarily more compatible industrial and commercial to a primarily noise-sensitive residential area is in violation of Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
As these fighter jets, mostly F-15s and F-16s, approach the runway in a corkscrew flight pattern above homes, they fly at low altitudes, shake houses, rattle bones, ruin the peace and sanctuary of backyards, wake up the sleeping, and can trigger PTSD symptoms. There are also unfair economic impacts on real estate values that disproportionately affect neighborhoods that have fewer resources to fight back. The health and livability impacts will last forever. Andrew, like many area residents, cannot sleep as well and flinches at sounds that did not previously bother him.
Andrew’s goal has been to raise awareness on this issue since last fall. People can’t fight against something if they don’t know there is a battle to be fought.
Here is what the Oregon Air National Guard proposes to do on a permanent basis:
> Increase OCDA hours from Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, to sunrise to sunset seven days a week, including weekends, year round.
> Allow participation by up to four aircraft simultaneously, rather than just two as done previously.
> Allow pilots from foreign militaries and Guard bases around the country to practice this military maneuver over Portland residential areas when training with ORANG. However ORANG has also stated that “often, complaints related to military operations are caused by visiting military pilots unaffiliated with ORANG”.
Map of fighter jet routes over Portland neighborhoods
Despite extensive outreach by Andrew, the local media has slept on this story. This is unfortunate as this story genuinely features a convergence of issues of class, equity, public health, governmental transparency, and the incremental militarization of all aspects of society. Allowing fighter jets to fly over Portland neighborhoods will forever alter the soundscape and psychological landscape of our city.
The Game Plan
Andrew cannot abide this, and since the local media has yet to publicize any of this, he decided to purchase 3 billboards at a cost of approximately $3,000. It is his hope that these billboards will sound the alarm, alert the media, and, in conjunction with mounting political pressure against the Oregon Air National Guard, will fund the legal fight potentially yet to come.
Fortunately, there is ample legal evidence supporting the case against permitting the fighter jets over Portland residences!! He paid for these billboards on credit, and doesn’t yet know how he will actually pay for them, but believes strongly enough that SOMETHING must be done. That’s why he’s counting on you to help sound the alarm!
Now the Port’s Noise Management Office and Citizen Noise Advisory Committee are wrapping up their study of this 6-month period. The results will be presented, discussed and voted on at the CNAC March 8 meeting, at 5:30-8 pm in PDX Airport, St. Helens B Conference Room. Andrew sees it as the responsibility of citizens to prevent ORANG from sending fighter jets further, deeper, and ever more frequently over Portland residential areas on a permanent basis.
How You Can Help
Donate to Maintain Portland skies without fighter jets!
Sign the Petition: www.NoJetsPortland.com
Call the Port of Portland Office of Noise Management: (503) [phone redacted]
Share this GoFundMe and the Petition on social media!
Join the Cully Neighborhood, the East Columbia Neighborhood, Central Northeast Neighborhood Coalition, and the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, which have each sent letters to the Port of Portland Citizen Advisory Committee, in opposing ORANG’s proposals.
Support a local activist who has been working unpaid for months, on behalf of thousands of residents, in the face of imposing institutions and bureaucrats who often have little regard for the impacts of their actions.
Donate what you can today and share this with your networks!
- Written by Katy Wolf, for No Jets Portland
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