Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)
Who we are
We are an organization of health professionals and public health advocates working collaboratively with community partners to educate and advocate for societal and policy change that protects human health at the local, state, national, and international level. Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, we work to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and survival, including pollution and climate change. Oregon PSR works in a coalition with a variety of environmental organizations across Oregon to promote clean energy and clean air and fight against fossil fuels and toxic air pollution, while centering equity and social justice.
The Fight Against Covanta Marion
Covanta has operated its Marion Incinerator in Brooks, Oregon for over thirty years, threatening the public health and quality of life of nearby communities, including a large Latinx community and farm workers in the area. This incinerator is the number one polluter in Marion County in part because it burns out-of-state medical waste, which results in even higher levels of toxic emissions, in addition to municipal solid waste . Despite this, Covanta and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality refuse to operate with or require higher air pollution standards for the facility. Together with our allies, we have succeeded in shutting down Covanta’s attempts to pass legislation that would allow it to receive renewable energy certificates while polluting Oregon’s air. Currently, we are working with local communities to counter the incinerator’s greenwashing propaganda and convince the Marion County Commissioners to commit to phasing out the incinerator and developing zero waste alternatives in its place.
Incinerator: Marion County Solid Waste-to-Energy Facility
Location: 4850 Brooklake Road NE, Brooks, OR
Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 26,184.16 (2017)
Mercury: 6.57 (2017)
PM2.5: 20,640.00 (2017)
Lead: 9.46 (2017)
NOx: 530,000.00 (2017)
Community: 26% minority, 25% below poverty line
Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available
Carina Perez Europa works as Oregon PSR’s Clean Air Organizer in Marion County, advocating for responsible alternatives to incineration of medical and municipal waste. Prior to Oregon PSR, Carina worked for Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) as a field organizer for the May 2019 Salem-Keizer School Board races. She also served as Communications Director for Bill Burgess’ campaign for Marion County Commissioner. A lifelong Oregonian, Carina is passionate about working with communities to ensure that everyone has a safe, healthy place to live and that all our communities guide decisions that directly impact them. She is fighting against the incinerator and for a just transition to zero waste because she wants every Oregonian to have an equitable chance for a long, healthy life. She is proud to be a part of the wide coalition to help bring previously marginalized voices to the forefront of this fight.
In the news
Oregon PSR celebrated its 40th year of work for a more healthy, peaceful, and just world in 2021. “We began from the powerful vision of our founders who sat on Dr. Karen Steingart’s living room floor and strategized about how a health message could help prevent nuclear war. Over the next forty years, our members, volunteers, and donors contributed their passion and leadership to the organization, bringing a broad public health frame to issues such as environmental justice, gun violence, and climate health, learning and growing along the way.”