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:
2) Creating access to and movement along our community waters and arterial pathways, which include:
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
Jeremy & Rebecca Olson-Colson & family
Josiah Fisher & family
Bruce Austin & family
Andrew Millison & family
Vince Adams & family
Jay and Evan Thatcher
Anne and Denis White
Leela Devi & family
Kathleen & Dan Fowler
Nance & Randy Kiesling
Abby & Ben Metzger
Craig and April Hall Cutting
Sarah Beldin & family
Heath Keirstead & David Pitot
Tony Howell & Patricia Benner
Lora and Jean-Paul Zagarola
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