A Community Appeal from Corvallis Neighbors to Hollingsworth & Vose

January 8, 2019

Cindy Frost, Site Manager
Hollingsworth & Vose
1115 SE Crystal Lake Dr
Corvallis, OR 97333

cc: Ken Fausnacht, Vice President of Global Operations
cc: Val Hollingsworth, President
cc: City Councilors Hyatt Lytle (Ward 3), Charles Maughan (Ward 2)
cc: Planning Commission, Paul Bilotta, Planning Director, Barbara Bull, Planning Commission Liaison

Dear Ms. Frost,

We thank you for your increased correspondence to neighbors and for the efforts you are making to keep us informed of the improvements to the Hollingsworth & Vose plant and property. Amidst the recent forums and ongoing discourse focused around your regulatory compliance issues, we see a need to begin a broader and proactive discussion that leads to more meaningful outcomes for our community safety and health. We are writing as a group of organized South Corvallis residents to start this discussion, and to make a clear and concerted appeal for our needs as a community.

We recognize that Hollingsworth and Vose is a major employer and taxpayer in Corvallis, and we see the value of the products that you produce. H&V has a substantial presence in South Corvallis, occupying over 40 acres in its properties and a large portion of Corvallis' Willamette River Greenway. As neighbors, we feel the H&V footprint is in some ways larger than the physical factory site, as it lays along what many of us refer to as the 'bottleneck' between Southtown and downtown Corvallis, where commuters are squeezed onto and along Highway 99 and through some of our community's most dangerous intersections and crossings. The location of the H&V site also impedes our access to parks, water, and green spaces, specifically the Willamette and Marys Rivers and the Mill Race.

We also have concerns that H&V is intensifying and prolonging its activities under what is essentially a grandfathered situation close to our neighborhoods, recreation areas, and natural areas. The pending H&V application to become a Title V Air Pollution Emitter under US EPA oversight is troubling for many of us, as it comes after several years of non-permitted emissions, and we see that H&V is requesting increased production capacity in this permitting process. We view both the increased emissions and production capacity as intensifications of industrial use, which are generally in conflict with the planning documents and zoning regulations that guide the use of H&V properties. These documents include the Willamette River Greenway mandate (State Planning Goal 15, 1973), the South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan (1998) that inspired the MUT zoning and documents a vision for our community, and the Mixed Use Transitional (MUT) zone that H&V occupies, which mandates conditional development approval for any significant developments and changes of use (Corvallis Master Plan).

Our concerns are somewhat compounded by the fact that H&V has had other problems in recent years to comply with regulations essential to community and environmental health. In addition to the sustained air emissions violation, H&V has had at least two water pollution violations in the last 6 years, and inherited a major contamination of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in soil and groundwater from the former Evanite Corporation. With this history of pollution incidents, you can see how many of us have concerns about the continued operation and intensification of activities at this industrial site. Given your location next to neighborhoods, parks, and natural areas, and the aging structures and systems on your site, we can't help but anticipate continued risks for our community's air, water, and soil.

We are now watching the commendable efforts H&V is making to improve its emissions filtration systems, which promise reductions in certain airborne contaminants, along with the aesthetic improvements being made along property margins. We appreciate the spirit of these improvements, which are clearly very costly, and we applaud the more neighborly identity you are developing. We hear this neighborly tone in H&V Vice President, Ken Fausnacht's words, "we want to position ourselves for the long-term viability of this site and we want to show that we're responding to the concerns of the community …. we want to be here for the long haul, and we know we can't be here for the long haul unless we make changes" (Gazette-Times, June 2017). However, we also hear in this statement a long term intention, which is echoed in your recent words "we want to be a neighbor for 20 years, we can't do what we've always done" (G-T, Oct 2018). This long-term intent is at odds with our expressed vision as a community, since it conflicts with the goals of the Willamette River Greenway, the South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan, and the zoning on which H&V sits, and so we are now motivated to make very clear the health and safety needs we have as a community, and to advocate more strongly for those needs.

If H&V is to be a valued and successful long-term member of the Corvallis community, it is essential that you understand the needs of your neighbors, and look for ways to honor our long-term shared goals:

1) Maintaining a clean, safe, and healthy environment, through:

  • Frequent and diligent monitoring and reporting of air quality emissions, and reporting of results to the community in a transparent manner
  • Abandonment of the waste pipe through the Willamette River and the wastewater pond on the east bank of the River, both of which have failed in recent years
  • Continued diligence and aggressive action to complete clean-up of the TCE contaminated areas
  • A proactive and transparent approach to other potential spills, brownfields, and safety and pollution risks on your properties
  • Measurable and meaningful improvements in factory noise pollution
  • Continued monitoring and clean-up of riverside camps and littered areas

2) Creating access to and movement along our community waters and arterial pathways, which include:

  • A riverfront path and broad riparian corridor along the Willamette River that offers safe movement for bikers and walkers, and an alternative connection to downtown (see Corvallis Parks & Rec Master Plan)
  • A re-opening of Chapman Avenue connection to Crystal Lake for pedestrians and bikers (see Corvallis Public Works Transportation Systems Plan documents)
  • An eventual easement along and daylighting of the Mill Race, when reconcilable with the TCE clean-up process

These are not new needs or requests, but those that have been voiced and documented for years by many in our community. Indeed, it is now almost 50 years since the Willamette River Greenway Goal 15 was established, 20 years since the South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan was adopted, and nearly as long since the Mixed Use Transitional Zone was created specifically for H&V lands.

We invite you to think creatively about our listed needs and share your ideas of how they might be met while allowing H&V to prosper and develop in our community. We are committed to working with our City leaders and community representatives to find collaborative solutions to these needs, and we are eager to begin this more constructive discussion. We look forward to your response in the coming weeks.

Your neighbors with concern,

Jeremy Monroe & family
Carly & David Lettero & family
Charles Goodrich & family
John Ame & family
Miriam Edell & family
Dylan Horne
Sara Kellogg
Jeremy & Rebecca Olson-Colson & family
Josiah Fisher & family
Bruce Austin & family
Andrew Millison & family
Vince Adams & family
Linda Johansen
Jay and Evan Thatcher
Josh Standig
Anne Arquette
Anne and Denis White
Jill Soth
Otmar Ebenhoech
Leela Devi & family
Carol Soth
Julie Wasmer
Melissa Foree
David Lytle
Josh Standig
Kathleen & Dan Fowler
Nance & Randy Kiesling
Ariel Ginsburg
Abby & Ben Metzger
Craig and April Hall Cutting
Sarah Beldin & family
Heath Keirstead & David Pitot
Jennah Stillman
Tony Howell & Patricia Benner
Mark Taratoot
Deborah Carey
Lora and Jean-Paul Zagarola
David Herasimtschuk
Sarah Beldin & Family
George Brown and Rebecka Weinsteiger Family
Additional signatures below

1) Willamette River Greenway Guidelines (Benton County)
2) South Corvallis Area Refinement Plan
3) MUT Zone Description

Update #23 years ago
Hi Neighbors -

This is a reminder to signers of this letter of our upcoming meeting on Monday, June 17 - 6-8pm at the South Co-Op meeting room (building behind Purple Moon Coffee). Our goals will be to review the issues and current status, prioritize our community concerns and needs, and plan for next steps.

Please re-read our community letter and the comments by signers and think about which elements resonate most strongly with you.

Thank you!
Update #13 years ago
Dear neighbors,

We are organizing a community-led meeting for supporters of this letter, to better organize and articulate our concerns and community needs.

Monday, June 17th, 6-8pm
First Alternative South Co-Op meeting room
(behind Purple Moon Coffee)

This meeting will have specific outcomes that will help us better prepare for upcoming public hearings. We ask that you re-read our community letter and the comments by signers before this meeting.

Thank you for your support!
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