PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As far back as 2009, the Oregon DEQ reported elevated levels of cadmium around Harriet Tubman Middle School. When results came back about 18 months later, they showed the concentration of cadmium was high enough to warrant potential concern for long-term continuous exposure.
The Portland Public Schools district insists students at Tubman have been safe throughout the years. But they also said that when it comes to learning about air quality test results, they’re informed at the same time through the same channels as people in the neighborhoods.
And neighbors in the North Portland area didn’t know a thing about the DEQ’s findings.
“We didn’t hear anything until two weeks ago or three weeks ago when we heard it on your station,” resident Kacey Jurgens told KOIN 6 News.
Another resident named Darcelle — who has lived in the area since 1978 — said, “Certainly somebody should let everybody know in an area, don’t you think? They should knock on your door and tell you there could be a problem.”
That’s partly why lawmakers will explore solutions in a public committee hearing later this week.
The DEQ’s own fact sheet shows they knew about higher cadmium in North Portland as far back as 2005. Many people wonder what the DEQ’s responsibility is to let people know wha they find out.
At this writing, DEQ officials have not responded to a request for comment from KOIN 6 News.