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Press Release

Community Workshop to Address Train, Truck Traffic in West County

September 17, 2007

Residents and workers in West Contra Costa who are concerned about the impact of trains and trucks on their community can attend a community workshop September 26 in Richmond.

The event is hosted by Solutions for West County Land Use and Environmental Justice, a new partnership between Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), Neighborhood House of North Richmond and the West County Toxics Coalition. It is scheduled from 5:30 - 8 p.m. September 26 at Hazel Hall in the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 360 Harbour Way South in Richmond.

"Many people in West County are concerned about air quality in their community, and trains and diesel trucks combine for a lot of emissions in the air," said Dr. Henry Clark, Executive Director of the West County Toxics Coalition. "This workshop will help get people involved in decisions that could increase or decrease truck and train traffic in the next few years."

The workshop is being facilitated by the Oakland-based Pacific Institute through a state Community Health Initiative grant that requires subcontracted services. Pacific Institute is an independent, nonpartisan think-tank studying issues of land development, environment and security.

"Besides air quality, residents of some communities express frustration about the impact of trains on traffic in their neighborhood because of long waits at rail crossings," said Catalina Garzón, a research associate with Pacific Institute. "We're planning a brainstorming session to devise solutions to these and other concerns."

Participating in that discussion September 26 will be numerous local residents, including those representing CCHS and the community groups.

"The Blueprint for Asthma Action report that we just released concludes that local communities must address environmental 'triggers' for the disease with policies and awareness campaigns to reduce asthma disparities in their community," said Cedrita Claiborne, manager of CCHS' Asthma Program, which is also participating in the partnership. "This workshop is a step in that direction."

Neighborhood House of North Richmond is a private, non-profit, multi-service agency founded in 1954 by the American Friends Services Committee, a Quaker group. Originally perceived as an African American voice for low-income families, the agency has transformed itself into a refuge for Southeast Asians and Mexican immigrants as well.

The West County Toxics Coalition (WCTC) is a nonprofit, multi-racial membership organization founded in 1986 to empower low-and moderate-income residents to exercise greater control over environmental problems that impact their quality of life. Specifically, WCTC seeks to protect the communities of West County against the toxic threats posed by petrochemical facilities, as well as the citing and/or expansion of municipal and hazardous waste operations in the Richmond area.

For more information about the event, call Catalina Garzón at 510-251-1600, extension 104. For more information about asthma in Contra Costa, visit and click on Health Topics and then Asthma, or contact Cedrita Claiborne at or 925-313-6861.

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Press Contact
  • Catalina Garzón
  • 510-517-1602
  • Lee Jones
  • 510-798-3322