PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Discrepancies surrounding the issue of lead in drinking water at some Portland Public Schools are continuing to surface.
PPS Superintendent Carole Smith received emails about lead testing on March 22, KOIN 6 News learned. But at a public hearing on May 31, more than 2 months later, Smith claimed she had only just been made aware of the situation.
“This is the situation that has caused a significant amount of concern,” Smith said at the May 31 hearing. “I was made aware of the situation late last week.”
PPS Chief of Staff Amanda Whalen forwarded Smith an email exchange about lead testing at Rose City Park back in March. Senior manager of environmental health and safety, Andy Fridley, said in an email they were only testing for lead at the time.
Fridley is one of 2 PPS officials recently placed on paid leave.
The other is Tony Magliano. Other emails obtained by KOIN 6 News show he was asked a series of questions by school board director Michael Rosen on May 26. One question regarding the March 22 lead test was, “Were all the fountains shut down?”
Magliano wrote back, “No, fountains and sinks that tested above the maximum were not shut down.” But days later, at a meeting on June 1, Magliano said, “The test was done on March 22. When the samples’ tests came back the fixtures were shut off.”
His statement at the meeting contradicted what he said in the email. It’s unclear whether the fountains were shut off following the lead tests in March.
All PPS officials involved declined to speak with KOIN 6 News on Wednesday.