Residents gather over pizza to talk air quality

Public forum set for March 15

A group of parents and concerned neighbors met at Pizza Roma to figure out how to tackle their air quality, March 6, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nearly two dozen residents got together over pizza to help plan their efforts to force action about the air they’re breathing in Southeast Portland.

The group of parents and concerned neighbors met at Pizza Roma to figure out how to tackle their air quality as hot spots of arsenic, cadmium and nickel have been identified recently.

“My daughter is scared to literally breathe,” said resident Sarah Clark. She added the DEQ “could do a lot more in terms of outreach and I have not seen the kind of outreach that should be happening for communities that are living within these toxic hot spots. A lot of residents don’t know they are living in one.”

These residents said they were able to schedule a public forum with the DEQ and OHA for March 15 at Lane Middle School.

Recent soil tests show Portland’s toxic air doesn’t seem to pose a long-term health risk. People who live right across the street from Bullseye Glass may find high levels of cadmium on their soil. But test results ordered by The Oregonian show the soil even a few blocks away doesn’t show high levels of arsenic or cadmium.

The newspaper’s results largely mirror those found in samples taken by the U.S. Forest Service and a day care center near Bullseye.

Results from KOIN 6 News’ independent soil tests from a residence near Bullseye Glass Company in Southeast Portland are in, and it’s pretty good news for the family who lives there.

Brittney Hamlin and her family live less than half a mile away from the glass factory.

Soil tests from 3 different spots in their backyard looked at levels of arsenic and cadmium, metals the DEQ says exceed safe levels in Southeast Portland’s air.

Results from Soil Solutions Environmental Services indicated “arsenic [levels] exceed the strictest Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Risk Based Concentrations (RBCs) of metals in soil. However it should be noted that measured concentrations are below the expected background levels for metals in Portland.”

Arsenic levels measured at about 10x the DEQ’s Risk Based Concentrations.

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