Update on Air Toxins in Portland

Barbara Smith Warner

Update on Air Toxins

Like many of you, I have serious concerns regarding heavy metal emissions identified by the US Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Northeast and Southeast Portland.  There have been several public community discussions on the matter recently, as well as a hearing at the House Energy and Environment Committee at the Capitol in Salem.  My staff and I are monitoring this troubling situation and working with DEQ to make sure that our community is kept safe and up to speed as things evolve.

DEQ has fully acknowledged the urgency of the situation, and has begun additional air monitoring and initial soil sampling in Southeast Portland. DEQ is preparing similar monitoring plans for North Portland.  I will continue advocating for Northeast Portland to be the next areas to be inventoried and tested in this process.

The Role of the Legislature

A 2015-2017 Budget Package is currently moving through the legislature. It will provide $2.5 million (Pg. 47 of the Budget Report) for staff and monitoring equipment funding, and to develop a statewide health based/risk based air toxics permitting program like the ones in Washington and California.

DEQ will continue to work with local businesses to reach agreements to discontinue the use of materials which contribute to heavy metal emissions. Additionally, the Legislature will begin the process of modifying and adapting rulemaking to allow DEQ to set legally-enforceable clear air quality standards, monitor conditions and hold all parties accountable in a timely fashion.

Helpful Links

For more information about the investigation and to get updates, visit www.deq.state.or.us/nwr/metalsemissions.htm (DEQ) and www.healthoregon.org/metalsemissions (OHA)

Air Quality FAQ from the DEQ: http://www.deq.state.or.us/nwr/docs/metalsem/FAQpdxMetals.pdf.

Governor Brown’s Statement regarding Portland Air Toxicity: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=41b11f32beefba0380ee8ecb5&id=88f3f383e4

Links to OHA and DEQ’s written letter of response to Governor Brown’s request for information on the timeline of events and all pertinent information related to the recent air quality issues and the next steps being taken to address the situation:https://drive.google.com/a/pdx.edu/folderview?id=0BzMvBq_LbaUUOGhHUHNJTTNXYXc&usp=drive_web#

Video stream of the OHA and DEQ addressing media inquiries regarding recent Portland air quality issues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98yWpo2CDGE.

A 24 hour hot-line is available for residents concerned about the health effects of metals emissions: 971-673-0185, EHAP.Info@state.or.us.

Complaints can be lodged at:  OregonAirToxics@deq.state.or.us


Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: Rep.BarbaraSmithWarner@state.or.us I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-487, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithwarner