Join NECN and our colleagues at North Portland Neighborhood Services, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 6-8 pm. Learn the facts on the most recent tests and find out how you can plug in to push for a bigger, better cleanup.
By NECN Staff
It’s been said a million times: Portland’s environment is beautiful, but our lush green landscape is misleading.
In fact, North and Northeast Portland zip codes house some of the most diverse communities in the state — but we also have some of the worst air quality. How bad is it? We’re about to find out.
After chugging along for the past 2 ½ years, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s statewide air toxics clean-up program, Cleaner Air Oregon, is finally starting to report the results of mandatory tests on air emissions in our area — believed to be some of the worst in the state.
Now we know there are high levels of arsenic and lead, plus more than a dozen other toxics and heavy metals including chromium, mercury, formaldehyde, copper, ammonia, and hexane.
That means it’s your big chance to get involved in meaningful action to impact your community’s immediate health and climate change itself — both.
Start by joining NECN and our colleagues at North Portland Neighborhood Services, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 6-8 pm. Learn the facts on the most recent tests and find out how you can plug in to push for a bigger, better cleanup.
A transcript will be made available for anyone who misses the live event. Or use the coordinates below:
VIRTUAL MEETING ACCESS
Tuesday Oct. 26, 2021, 6 – 8 PM
ONLINE: Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 874 7570 2681
One tap mobile: +16699006833,,87475702681#,,,,*520734# Dial by your location: +1 669 900 6833
Nine Things You Should Know About N/NE PDX Air Quality
- Climate change makes air pollution worse. A mid-October report by a coalition of national environmental nonprofits, released locally by Environment Oregon found the Portland/Vancouver/Hillsboro area had 55 days of elevated ozone and particulate matter in 2020. Increasing wildfires near the city set records for pollution level in September of last year.
- The Cleaner Air Oregon presentation coming up on Oct. 22 is actually a Land Use Transportation Committee meeting. The LUTC needs more members! This and other grassroots advisory committees are key seats to build awareness of important issues facing local communities.
- In order to take on emissions testing for suspected high-polluting facilities around the state, the Oregon DEQ set up a system prioritizing pollutants-testing in multiple steps — with the suspected biggest polluters being tested first.
- This system — called Cleaner Air Oregon — was rolled out by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in 2016, after the Bullseye Glass Company– and others — was found to be emitting harmful pollutants. The program lists “Toxic Air Contaminants” and closes regulatory gaps in federal anti-pollution programs.
- The North edge of Portland, along the Columbia River, has the highest concentration of facilities under Cleaner Air Oregon evaluation anywhere in the entire state — and a total of seven facilities in North and Northeast Portland are in line for emissions testing and review over the next few years.
- Cleaner Air Oregon’s first “prioritization” lists 20 suspected polluters across the state — four of these are in North and Northeast Portland. All of these will be discussed at the live zoom event Oct. 26:
- Columbia Steel Castings Corporation, 10425 N Bloss Ave, Portland, OR 97203
- Ecolube, 11535 N Force Ave, Portland, OR 97217
- Hydro Extrusions, 7933 NE 21st Ave. Portland 97211
- Owens Brockway, 9710 NE Glass Plant Rd, Portland, OR 97220
- The second prioritization list has 1 more:
5. ORRCO Portland, 4150 N Suttle Rd, Portland, OR 97217
- The third prioritization has a 1 more:
6. Malarkey Roofing Products, 3131 N Columbia Blvd, Portland, OR 97217
- And finally, a special addition to the list in 2020 included a Cleaner Air Oregon evaluation for:
7. NW METALS, which came under DEQ scrutiny after a tire fire in its Cully neighborhood auto-dismantling yard in 2018. Since then, the Oregon DEQ took NW Metals to court under new guidelines of Cleaner Air Oregon.
DEQ won an extension of their regulatory power, including the right to hold the company in contempt of court if it violates the environmental law, “which is punishable by a penalty and jail sentence for its senior management,” according to the legal judgement; DEQ won the right to inspect NW Metals at any time without warning and without their consent; and the right to hold NW Metals in contempt of court if they deny DEQ inspectors’ access.
A final piece of the judgement — about how much the DEQ can levy in fines against NW Metals — has not yet been decided in the Court of Appeals.