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Group heads to Salem to protest neighborhood air pollution


KOIN 6 NEWS - Protesters recently demonstratred outside Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland.Portland environmental activists are organizing a bus trip to the state capitol early Tuesday for residents to complain to lawmakers about air pollution problem recently announced by state authorities.

Neighbors for Clean Air has arranged for a bus to leave Cleveland High School at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 to bring people to an 8 a.m. air quality informational session before the House Energy and Environment Commission.

The session was scheduled in response to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality declaring that it had confirmed high levels of arsenic, cadmium and chromium in the air in North and Southeast Portland. The DEQ officials say the pollution came from two glass manufacturing plants that have stopped using the substances.

The activists are not satisfied with that, however, and are urging people so sign on onine petitions to Gov. Kate Brown that says Oregon's existing air quality regulations are not working.

According to the petition:

• Oregon has the third largest population at risk of excess cancer due to air pollution, behind only California and New York.

• 117 Oregon schools fall in the worst 10 percent nationally for exposure to industrial pollution.

• And diesel particulate matter is responsible for approximately 460 premature deaths a year in Oregon. That’s more than those who die from homicide and drunk driving, combined.

"Oregonians deserve to breathe air that does not make them sick. And they deserve a state government that makes that happen," the petition reads.

Oregon DEQ says the glass companies have been complying with their discharge permits. The owners of Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland says DEQ never told them were doing anything wrong.

For more information on Neighbors for Clean Air, visit www.whatsinourair.org.

For an earlier Portland Tribune story, visit portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/294178-171574-hales-kafoury-demand-state-action-on-air-pollution.