Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Churches organize a Port Toxic Tour

The word “toxic” did not deter 16 members of Fauntleroy and Admiral UCC churches in West Seattle from signing up for the Port Toxic Tour in mid-March.

Toxic Port Tour

Puget Sound Sage staff lead 16 from Admiral and Fauntleroy UCC churches on a Port Toxic Tour.

Lay leaders and pastors worked with Puget Sound Sage to organize this tour of their backyard. In preparation for this event community organizer Samantha Keller of Puget Sound Sage gave presentations in both churches on Sundays in February.

As participants gathered on March 16 at Admiral, Fauntleroy member LeeAnne Beres of Earth MInistry gave an overview of UCC engagement in environmental justice for 50 years and of religious values that drive our concerns.

The “tourists” then boarded a bus that had been arranged by Puget Sound Sage, and Keller and Genevieve Aguilar of Puget Sound Sage led a three-hour tour through the Port of Seattle and its adjoining neighborhoods. The area straddles Seattle’s only river, the Duwamish, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site.

“We were challenged to see the human cost of distributing material goods,” said Kendall Baker, member of Admiral who helped to organize this event.

“We saw justice issues on pollution from diesel fumes emitted by idling semi-trucks and from storm water flowing through scrap metal yards into the river. We learned about exploitation of immigrant contract workers whose low-pay, high-risk work is to haul shipping containers from the port to trains or warehouses.”

West Seattle neighbors of the port, one of the largest in the nation, experience the impact of environmental injustices. Church members will follow up with advocacy on “the close-to-home environmental issues,” Baker said, “giving new meaning to Not in My Back Yard.”

For information, call 206-568-5000 or email

Copyright © April-May 2013 Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share