West Oakland Heroine Makes History


Margaret Gordon

By Post Staff

 Supporters of Oakland Port Commissioner Margaret Gordon have begun a campaign this month for Gordon’s reappointment to the port board.

Supporters have been circulating petitions throughout Oakland, including at last weeks Art & Soul Festival, urging Mayor Jean Quan to reappoint Gordon.

Gordon, a West Oakland African-American environmental leader, was appointed to the Port Commissioner by then-Mayor Ron Dellums in 2008. Her four year term expired in July of this year, and Quan has not yet nominated a replacement.

In their petition, Gordon’s supporters give several reasons why Quan should reappoint Gordon. They say that Gordon’s appointment to the Commission in 2011 “was an historic affirmation of the right of the West Oakland community to have independent representation” on the Port, since the Port has so much effect upon the lives of West Oakland residents.

The petition also says that Gordon has helped to move the Port forward on such issues as air quality and Port finances, that she has been “an outstanding commissioner” and a “respected environmentalist,” and that her reappointment “is critical to the fragile progressive alliance which has been able to make some progress in Oakland over the past few years.” Environmental activists in other cities have asked how Oakland took the path-breaking step of appointing someone with Margaret’s independence and community support to the Port Commission.

Gordon is the co-founder and co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), a nationally-recognized environmental organization that fights the effects of environmental pollution on Bay Area communities.

She has played a prominent role in a number of local and state advisory boards and steering committees, including the California Environmental Health Tracking Project’s Alameda County Pilot Project, the West Oakland Project Area Committee, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Community Air Risk Evaluation Program, the Cabinet Level Goods Movement Working Group, the Air Resources Board’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. She co-chairs the planning process for the Port of Oakland Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan.