The "Historic Logan Heights" area includes the communities of Logan Heights, Barrio Logan, Memorial, Sherman Heights, Grant Hill, Stockton, Southcrest and Shelltown. Environmental Health Coalition works throughout this area, but especially in Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights.

(insert map showing Historic Logan Heights communities with communities identified and major freeways)


Historic Logan Heights is a microcosm of environmental racism in the United States. You can find it all here:

• A community of color created by racially discriminatory real estate covenants,

• Overcrowding, as more and more people are restricted to a small area,

• Encroachment of industry into residential areas,

• Effects of war and economic downturns on immigrant communities,

• Destructive effects of highways and bridges,

• Failure of government to provide services, provide protective zoning, and keep their promises, and ultimately

• The conversion of once vibrant communities into a land of junkyards, poverty, and substandard housing.

Much of this transformation took place from the 1920's to 1950's, but the community was physically torn apart in the 60's. In 1963, Interstate 5 was built through the middle of Logan Heights – the area to the northeast of the freeway retained the name of Logan Heights, while the area to the southwest became known as Barrio Logan. In 1967, the Coronado Bridge was built, dissecting the new area of Barrio Logan. Thousands of homes were destroyed and families displaced by these events.

But this period also sparked the birth of Barrio Logan. When land that was promised as a park under the bridge was instead slated to be turned into a CalTrans workyard, people revolted. Eventually Chicano Park was created and is now home to world famous murals, a free health clinic was established, many of the junkyards were eliminated, and in 1978 the Barrio Logan/Harbor 101 Community Plan was adopted.

Click here for a more detailed history of the area. (Link to Historical Resources Survey, Barrio Logan Community Plan Area)

For more information on each community and EHC's past and current work, click on the map or community name.

Demographics of Logan Area:

Environmental racism is not easily defined; it is the cumulative impacts of environmental, social, political and economic vulnerabilities that affect the quality of life of a community.

Insert chart for Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Memorial, Sherman Heights, Grant Hill, Stockton, Southcrest, Shelltown: %people of color, %poverty, %children under 6 and 18, median age of housing, %immigrants, %Spanish spoken at home, %with high school degree of less

Pollution burden:

Green Zones are designed for places like National City that face a deadly combination of public health burdens, environmental degradation, and socioeconomic stressors. We seek to transform these areas into healthy, thriving "Green Zones" by creating proactive, solution-oriented, community and interagency partnerships. Working together, we will target public and private resources and programs into Green Zone areas to support implementation of community-based solutions developed through intensive resident engagement and leadership.

The California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) (a statewide coalition of six community-based organizations) has launched a California-wide Green Zones Initiative, with sites in Los Angeles, Riverside, Southern San Joaquin Valley, Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco. Environmental Health Coalition anchors the San Diego Green Zones effort and has selected Old Town National City as its Green Zone Pilot.

Old Town National City: Now a "Brown Zone"

The Old Town neighborhood of National City is plagued by decades of poor land-use planning, which has left an unhealthy mix of homes, toxic industries, and warehouses, compounded by a lack of affordable housing and open space. There are over 34 autobody shops in a 90 block area, releasing an estimated 23,000 tons of air toxins. The area is bordered by Interstate 5 and home to a diesel bus station, both of which contribute to high levels of particulate matter. As a result, residents face a range of "cumulative impacts:"

• 20% of housing units are overcrowded, with 2 or more people per room.

• 14% of children have diagnosed asthma, twice the average rate in California

• 94% are people of color

• 41% of families live in poverty

• 75 % of the population are renters.

Mapping Cumulative Impacts with the Environmental Justice Screening Methodology)

The Environmental Justice Screening Methodology (EJSM) is a tool to identify what areas face a combination of environmental and socioeconomic stressors, or "cumulative impacts." It has been developed by Rachel Morello-Frosch (UC Berkeley), Manuel Pastor (University of Southern CA), and Jim Sadd (Occidental College). The EJSM creates and maps a "cumulative impact" score for census tracts. The methodology combines indicators from publicly-available data on:

• public health and air quality

• land use data

• the number of hazardous facilities and sensitive receptors in an area

• socioeconomic vulnerabilities

The scores range from 3 - 15, with 15 being "highly impacted."

Census Tracks in Old Town National City have an EJSM score of 13 and 14, meaning it is highly impacted.

What does a National City Green Zone look like?

Relocating unhealthy land-uses: In 2010 National City began the amortization/phase out process of incompatible land uses, such as autobody shops, away from residential areas. National City is now determining the order in which the non-conforming land-uses will be amortized, with the process set to start in early 2012.

Create a green industrial park: Businesses relocated under the amortization process would move to an industrial area a few miles west of the residential neighborhood. The park would serve a hub for the paint and auto-body industry and foster green practices.

Affordable housing transit-oriented development: 14 acres of land adjacent to the light rail Trolley Stop will be cleaned up and developed into 201 affordable housing units. The site has been chosen by EPA as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities Brownfields Pilots.

Paradise Creek Educational Open Park Space: Community residents have been working to restore this salt marsh wetland that flows from San Diego Bay into the city since 1993. The 2 acre park is the only park serving a community of about 1600 people and passes by the local elementary school. The first phase of the interpretive park opened in 2007 after 12 years of planning and fundraising.