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Letter to the Editor: STOP Verizon’s 5G Tower at EPHC in Portola

Don’t let Verizon use the Fire and Pandemic States of Emergency to Force a 133 ft. 5G Cell Tower in the Heart of Portola — there’s a hearing Thursday, Aug. 27, at 5:30 p.m.

While the county is under a state of emergency and residents are busy preparing to evacuate their families, Verizon—enabled by the City of Portola who refused numerous requests from the public to postpone the hearing due to the state of emergency— is trying to force through a dangerous 5G-ready cell tower within steps of Eastern Plumas Health Care, in spite of the Hospital Board’s formal opposition to the project.

The cell tower would endanger wildlife, lower property values, risk wildfire in a tinder-dry forested area with a large diesel tank and electric equipment, interfere with public access to the hospital area, and put future EPHC expansion plans in jeopardy. We need safer, wired telecommunications to handle increased data demands, as the Portola General Plan specifically calls for, not unnecessary new microwave-polluting equipment that is unreliable in an emergency and may spark wildfires. We can do better.

Verizon has not provided adequate evidence to show that it cannot “colocate” and use the Beckwourth Peak site, which would be more consistent with the existing county policy favoring co-location. They have not provided evidence of dropped calls. Without evidence, city officials appear to be “just taking Verizon’s word for it.” Decisions should be based on evidence, not assumptions and hearsay.

Residents should contact Portola City Manager at [email protected] and ask that the hearing be postponed until after the state of emergency is lifted. If the hearing is not postponed, the public can listen to the virtual hearing and provide 3 minutes of public comment by calling 669.900.6833 and using Meeting ID: 358 306 7836. People can also provide feedback on the plan by emailing the same address.


Josh Hart

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