Alameda school replaces lead-based paint

Lead-based paint is being replaced at Alameda Elementary School in Portland, April 11, 2014 (KOIN 6)
Lead-based paint is being replaced at Alameda Elementary School in Portland, April 11, 2014 (KOIN 6)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Painters arrived at Alameda Elementary School to paint the railings and siding of the Portland school that tested positive for lead.

Parents like Erik Holder and Virginia LaForte were happy the repainting is underway.

“(Kids) spend a lot of time here, so eventually after a lot of hours and a lot of years, that’s a lot of lead,” Holder said.

LaForte said the painting is overdue, but she’s pleased it’s underway.

“I’m very pleased. I feel like this is the step and we have to start somewhere. I feel like I can sleep a little bit better tonight.”

She also said the outside of the building needs to be painted, and Portland Public Schools don’t disagree.

But the issue is funding. The water bureau gives a yearly $50,000 grant to take care of lead problems throughout the district.

PPS official Tony Magliano said they’re looking at the budget to see if more repainting is possible.

“Beyond the lead issue here, the reason you paint buildings is that it protects the exterior of the building,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I want parents to know that if they have issues of concern, we want to work with them.”

The district has similar lead problems at several other schools with painted wood windows and siding.

Creston School in Southeast Portland has wood trim around the main doors. It has measurable lead paint levels in the peeling trim.

District officials told KOIN 6 News that “when we investigate failing paint, we assume that our buildings have some level of lead in their paint.”

But the district said it’s been focusing on replacing aging roofs and doing seismic upgrades with the $500 million in bond money approved by voters two years ago.

KOIN 6 News reporter Lisa Balick contributed to this report.

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