Portland City Council Passes Resolutions to Support Nuclear Ban Treaty and Diplomacy with Iran
PORTLAND, Oregon (November 13, 2019) — On Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, Portland City Council adopted two resolutions in support of peace and diplomacy. Introduced by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the first resolution put Portland on record supporting the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the second one supported diplomacy, not war, with Iran. The resolutions were led by Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and the American Iranian Friendship Council and supported by a broad coalition of community organizations.
“Today, we are sending the message to our representatives in Washington, and the national and international community, that the City of Portland is committed to the protection of human life and the environment,” explained Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the sponsor of both resolutions, “These resolutions serve as a platform for our community members to see themselves reflected in our values and priorities as a City.”
By adopting the resolution supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Portland has joined about a dozen US cities and more than100 cities around the world to take a stand for nuclear disarmament. The resolutions is based on Oregon state Senate Joint Memorial 5, and acknowledges that Portland taxpayers are spending roughly $142,413,000 annually on nuclear weapons, money that could be better spent on healthcare, education, infrastructure, and the environment.
It calls out the racial injustice and harm to human health that nuclear weapons have already caused from uranium mining on indigenous land to weapons testing in the Marshall Islands to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the contamination of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The resolution is part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’s (ICAN) #ICanSave my city campaign and the “Back from the Brink” Campaign. Read the resolution.
Speakers in support of the resolution included Japanese Hibakusha (a-bomb survivor) Michiko Kornhauser; Retired Commander Harvey Thorstad of Veterans for Peace and National Association of Atomic Veterans; State Representative Tawna Sanchez who introduced the state version of the resolution; and Kianna Angelo, member of the Marshallese community, founder of Living Islands and a Board member of COFA Alliance National Network, and Chisao Hata and Yukiyo Kawano of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“In our current political climate with the looming threats of war and a new nuclear arms race, it’s vital that local elected officials speak up for diplomacy and protecting their constituents from the devastation of nuclear weapons and war,” said Chisao Hata, Advisory Board member of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “I applaud Portland City Council for passing this resolution and joining with the majority of countries in the world that support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
The Portland City Council also voted to support a resolution encouraging diplomacy, not war, with Iran. This resolution was developed by the American Iranian Friendship Council, a local group of Iranian Americans and others who have deep ties with Iran. Read the resolution below.
Speakers in favor of the no war with Iran resolution Iranian-Americans Goudarz Eghtedari, PhD of the American Iranian Friendship Council; David Douglas School Board member Sahar Yarjani Muranovic, PhD professor of religion and humanities at Reed College Kambiz GhaneBasir, and Jason Ali Allen along with Catherine Thomasson, MD, Former PSR Executive Director who traveled to Iran on medical delegation and Marion Ward, of the Portland Shiraz Sister City Project.
“Even without war, US sanctions are having a devastating effect on ordinary Iranians. For example, according to a news outlet, 15 Iranian children have died this year due to extreme sanctions imposed on Iran,” said Goudarz Eghtedari, PhD, a co-founder of American Iranian Friendship Council. “Children who were diagnosed with Epidermolysis Bullosa did not receive protective bandages they needed. A Swedish company is the unique manufacturer of the medical bandage and refused to ship it to Iran due to sanctions. Pursuing diplomacy with Iran will save lives.”
The resolutions were supported by the following organizations:
American Iranian Friendship Council, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, 350PDX, American Friends Service Committee Oregon, APANO *, Augustana Lutheran Church, Coalition of Communities of Color*, Code Pink, COFA Alliance National Network (CANN)*, Columbia Riverkeepers*, Democratic Party of Multnomah County, Environmentalists Against War, Living Earth, Living Islands*, National Association of Atomic Veterans, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND), Peace Action Group, First Unitarian Church, Peace and Justice Works **, Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC), Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter, Soka-Gakkai USA*, Union of Concerned Scientists *, Unite Oregon, Verde *, Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 and more.
* nuclear weapons resolution only, ** Iran resolution only
Declare the City’s opposition to nuclear weapons and urge the US Federal Government to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and take action to prevent nuclear war
WHEREAS, nearly 13,865 nuclear weapons still exist in the world today and pose a significant risk to human survival; and
WHEREAS, the United States was the first country to develop and use nuclear weapons in war; and
WHEREAS, the United States has approximately 6,185 nuclear weapons, constituting the world’s second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons; and
WHEREAS, the United States is currently planning to spend at least $1.7 trillion to rebuild the US nuclear weapons arsenal; and
WHEREAS, Portland taxpayers will spend $142,412,948 on nuclear weapons in 2019, funds that could be used for necessary programs such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and the environment; and
WHEREAS, in July of 2017, 122 nations called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by adopting the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
WHEREAS, the United States Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war, but the President of the United States currently has de facto sole authority to order nuclear attacks without any required consultation or any system of checks and balances; and
WHEREAS, Portlanders currently benefit from the safety and security provided by existing nuclear arms reduction treaties, including the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and New START, and previously benefited from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty from which the Trump administration has recently withdrawn; and
WHEREAS, members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation, including Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and Suzanne Bonamici, are leaders in Congress on nuclear disarmament and have
cosponsored legislation to end nuclear first strike capability, reduce spending on nuclear weapons, and support the INF treaty; and
WHEREAS, plutonium for the bomb the United States dropped on Nagasaki was produced at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a site on the banks of the Columbia River in the State of Washington that displaced area residents, affected the health of Downwinders in Oregon and Washington, and caused sacred sites, villages, and fishing areas of Native American tribes to be lost; and
WHEREAS, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, upriver from Portland, remains the most toxic site in the Western Hemisphere, a nuclear sacrifice zone that threatens the health and environment of our people and region; and
WHEREAS, the Marshall Islands were the site of 67 nuclear weapons tests by the United States during the Cold War and Oregon currently has one of the largest populations of Marshall Islanders in the nation, many of whom continue to suffer health consequences from their home being used as a nuclear sacrifice zone; and
WHEREAS, the service and suffering of all atomic veterans was acknowledged by the State of Oregon in 2005 with the designation of July 16 annually as Atomic Veterans Day, and in 2017 with the designation of Interstate 5 between Salem and Albany as Atomic Veterans Memorial Highway; and
WHEREAS, Oregon has been home to many courageous people who have dedicated their lives to the eradication of nuclear weapons, including Hiroshima survivors Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider of Medford, and Michiko Kornhouser of Portland, Hanford cleanup advocate and Yakama Nation Elder Russell Jim, Ava Helen Pauling and her husband, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Linus Pauling, Hanford Downwinder Patricia Hoover of Eugene, and Carol Urner, who organized the first Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial in Portland in 1962; and
WHEREAS, nuclear weapons-related mining, milling, production, testing, storage, and use disproportionately affect women, children, communities of color, and indigenous peoples, and adequate compensation has not been made for the environmental and health consequences of nuclear weapons activities pursued by the federal government during the 50 years of the Cold War, most often on Native American land; and
WHEREAS, Portland has been a “Mayors for Peace” city since 1988, supporting the call from the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the abolition of nuclear weapons; and
WHEREAS, Oregon’s state legislature in 2019 passed Senate Joint Memorial 5, legislation similar to this resolution that was led by Senator Michael Dembrow and Representatives Tawna Sanchez and Allisa Keny-Guyer who represent Portland districts; and
WHEREAS, in any war cities across the globe could be targeted for hostile action, and dozens of cities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are speaking up and calling on their governments to support the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
WHEREAS, a single nuclear detonation in Portland could cause hundreds of thousands of immediate fatalities, and injuries, and illnesses from radiation and devastating effects on surrounding agricultural land and the environment for generations; and
WHEREAS, nuclear weapons production consumes material, academic, technological, scientific and financial resources which are desperately needed to pursue climate justice; and
WHEREAS, Portlanders, and all people, have the human right to live a life free from nuclear contamination and the threat posed by the use of nuclear weapons.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the City Council of Portland urges the Congress of the United States to take appropriate steps to fulfill its ethical obligation to its people and join the global effort to prevent nuclear war by establishing a system of checks and balances ensuring that the President of the United States no longer has the sole and unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Portland urges the United States Congress to renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first, and to take US nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, and to cancel the plan to replace the entire US nuclear arsenal with next-generation nuclear weapons, and to actively pursue a verifiable and multilateral agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate nuclear arsenals; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Portland supports the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calls upon the US federal government to join the treaty; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Portland authorizes that the passage of this resolution be considered by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
(ICAN) for the #ICANSAVE Cities Lead Campaign, joining cities from around the world in formally supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of the Portland City Council who support this resolution will submit their names to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Parliamentary Pledge, joining elected officials from around the world in formally supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a copy of this Resolution will be sent by the Office of Government Relations to the US Secretary of Defense, Dr. Mark T. Esper; the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo; the US President, Donald J. Trump; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi; Oregon Governor Kate Brown; US Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden; US Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader; the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; and any other interested parties.
Adopted by the Council: Mary Hull Caballero
Auditor of the City of Portland Commissioner Fritz By
Prepared by: Yesenia L. Carrillo Date Prepared: 10/29/2019
Kelly Campbell, Executive Director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. 1020 SW Taylor St, Suite 275, Portland, OR 97205 firstname.lastname@example.org
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