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Brown extends order against Bullseye Glass, despite positive test results

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday directed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to extend the 10-day cease and desist order against Bullseye Glass Co. initially issued May 19. The order now limits Bullseye’s use of toxic heavy metals, including lead, from its glass-making process through June 8.

“I will continue this prohibition on the use of toxic metals in uncontrolled furnaces as long as necessary to protect the well-being of children at the nearby daycare center and other residents,” Brown said in a Friday press release.

Bullseye officials previously said they will have no choice but to lay off employees of the order is extended.

According to Brown's office, the extension "was made in light of continued concerns by DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) about the company’s ability to limit emissions of toxic metals into the air. DEQ provided the company a noon deadline today to sign a legally binding agreement that would have avoided the need for a cease and desist order, which the company did not sign. The agencies anticipate ongoing discussions with the company to reach a durable resolution of public health threats from the company’s operations."

The initial order was issued in response to data from a DEQ air monitor at Children’s Creative Learning Center, southeast of Bullseye, that detected high lead levels on May 9 and 10.

But on Wednesday, the Multnomah County Health Department said that none of the children or adults tested so far for lead poisoning in southeast Portland had blood lead levels that would require further medical care or public health action.

According to a press release from the department, 192 people had been screened for lead poisoning since the state announced high levels of airborne lead in their neighborhood. All the blood lead levels were considered low. The results included 71 people who were tested Monday at the Children’s Creative Learning Center at Fred Meyer (CCLC).

“Parents should be reassured that we did not find blood lead levels of concern,’’ Jae Douglas, director of the Environmental Health Department, said in the release. “But we know we have not reached everyone, and encourage moms and children under 6 to take advantage of our upcoming clinics.”

The extension was issued just hours after the co-owner of Bullseye Glass made an emotional appeal to the DEQ during a meeting that was convened to discuss the fiscal and economic impact that permanent operating rules would have on similar glass manufacturers.

“It feels like being a living cadaver,” Lani McGregor told KOIN 6 News. “We are a laboratory rat so that the DEQ and EPA can learn about our little corner of the art world.”

McGregor said the DEQ gave Bullseye a deadline of noon Friday to sign a mutual agreement and order that her company felt was not only inaccurate but also “inflammatory and almost criminally indicting of us.”

Brown cited the company’s unwillingness to sign that order as part of the reason the cease and desist order was extended.

“We just need the DEQ to help us and in 116 days I’ve never seen any indication that help was on the way,” said McGregor. “All I’ve got is the same conclusion and that is nobody knows, the EPA can’t direct us, DEQ can’t direct us, they don’t understand our industry.”

McGregor says Bullseye can’t continue to operate in limbo.

“Everything is just happening so fast. We haven’t been given time, we haven’t been given any direction,” she said.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this story.