Our Not so Fresh Fresh-air

The smoke has mostly cleared out of the air in Montavilla, but it is not entirely safe to breathe. Greg Bourget, with Portland Clean Air, attended the September 14th Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting to deliver that message. Portland Clean Air is seeking MNA participation with the organization.

Bourget attended the meeting to inform the MNA board of hazardous air quality issues in the area and ask that an MNA representative be made available to coordinate with Portland Clean Air. Thirty-nine other Portland Neighborhood Associations have appointed a liaison to work with the project, according to Bourget. The primary purpose of this formal communication channel is to keep Montavilla residents informed.

“Currently Multnomah is ranked by the EPA in the worst 1.3% of counties in the US for diesel particulate, the worst airborne carcinogen according to State of California risk assessments.” Explained Bourget. He went on by referencing The State of California’s report on diesel particulate. It says that “Diesel engine emissions are believed to be responsible for about 70% of California’s estimated known cancer risk attributable to toxic air contaminants.” 

Montavilla residents should take particular concern, according to Bourget. “Montavilla is unusually affected by diesel particulate, even by Portland standards, due to proximity to I-84 and I-205.”

Beyond sharing information, Bourget hopes Montavilla will help apply pressure to the leading polluters in the area. “Four Associations have written five negotiation letters to some of the most dangerous industrial air polluters in Portland. Montavilla’s endorsement of these letters is requested. Montavilla might consider participating in the negotiation with unfiltered diesel fleets, considering your [neighborhood’s] exposure.”

The MNA agreed to give this matter further consideration and find a willing representative to work with Portland Clean Air. Board members expressed a desire to have Greg Bourget back at a future date to further present information.

Portland Clean Air will release two reports in the coming days to help the community take proactive steps towards cleaner air. One will focus on effective home air filtration. The other report will address air quality monitoring. By educating the public and assisting residents in measuring their environment, Bourget wants people to become more involved. “We invite residents to learn more and consider helping with a campaign focused on the largest Portland area [polluter,] unfiltered diesel fleets.”

Air quality has been on everyone’s mind these last few weeks due to the dangerous wildfire smoke. Portland Clean Air hopes now is an excellent time to have you think about the unseen dangers in the air that exist year-round. Additional research into Portland Clean Air’s information is needed. However, the project hopes to get Portlanders investigating the issues and ultimately supporting some pollution reform.

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