PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A group of Portland residents and other concerned citizens rallied in Salem for clean air on Tuesday morning.

The residents gathered outside of the Oregon State Capitol Building during a House Committee on Energy and Environment info session on the ‘air toxics crisis’ that was from 8 – 10 a.m.

Residents are concerned about the high levels of arsenic and cadmium recently discovered by the DEQ in spots around SE and North Portland.

In areas around SE 21st and Powell, arsenic levels were around 150 times the state’s healthy benchmark for ambient air. Cadmium levels were 50 times the suggested air quality limit.

A protester in Salem, February 23 2016. (KOIN)
A protester in Salem, February 23 2016. (KOIN)

During the hearing, testimony was provided by four panels of invited guests, including parents from NE and SE Portland, community advocates, and a Portland State University expert on air quality testing and monitoring.

A mother from the neighborhood around SE 21st and Powell,  Mary Postlethwaite, testified to the committee, saying she is enraged about the toxic air she’s been breathing in for years.

She told state lawmakers she’s disgusted with Oregon for her sake and for kids sake.

“I fight everyday for my kids — everyday against all kinds of things and the last thing I thought I would have to fight for — air?!! Something as simple as taking a breath,” Postlethwaite said.

A group called Neighbors for Clean Air delivered a petition to the Governor’s office after the hearing, demanding the state clean up polluted air near Cleveland High School. The group claims the petition has more than 4,000 signatures.