Oregon air quality activists fight corporate polluters and government failure

Photo source: Street Roots News

The Moving Forward Network had our annual meeting in Portland last month, and some stayed to attend the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

We were thrilled to meet some of Oregon’s environmental community, and saddened to learn about the scope and scale of air pollution in Portland, Eugene, and other cities.  The biggest culprit, unfortunately, is diesel exhaust.

“According to data compiled by Portland Clean Air, all of downtown and much of Northwest, North and Northeast Portland have diesel concentrations that are 10 times greater than the standard health benchmark. The rest of the city isn’t much better off, with most of it between five and 10 times the benchmark.” (Source: Portland’s air pollution crisis is exposed. Now what?, Streets Roots News)

Soon after we returned home, Portland residents endured another blow.  Thanks too great work by the outstanding alternative PNeighbors for Clean Air, Portlands air is toxicortland Mercury newspaper, they learned that the a local industry had emitted huge quantities of neurotoxic and carcinogenic arsenic and cadmium into their air.  A local manufacturer had poisoned their community, and the state Department of Environmental Quality had failed them.

To find out what happened next, check out the Streets Roots News article linked below.  Reporter Emily Green tells a fascinating story of industrial polluters, regulatory capture,  government failure – and citizens standing up to protect their neighbors.

The heroes in this story include Beyond ToxicsCoalition of Communities of ColorOPAL, the Oregon Environmental Council, Portland’s Neighbors for Clean Air, and some gutsy local politicians.

Portland’s air pollution crisis is exposed. Now what?, Streets Roots News

For background, read this blockbuster story:

State Finds Alarmingly High Arsenic, Cadmium Levels Near Two SE Portland Schools, Portland Mercury