Uroboros Glass announces closure after toxic air crisis

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a statement online Wednesday, Uroboros Glass founder Eric Lovell announced that after 43 years, the company would be discontinuing operations in early-2017.

Lovell attributed the closure to a combination of factors, including the cost of meeting recent regulations for environmental, fire and seismic safety. He also noted gentrification of the area and his impeding retirement age as factors.

“We’re part of the fabric of this city,” Lovell said. “We prided ourselves at Uroboros in being environmentally conscious.”

Uroboros was hit hard by new DEQ regulations earlier this year. They were among the glass makers that were under scrutiny when high levels of toxic heavy metals were found in Portland’s air.

The glass makers had to reduce production of certain colors after DEQ regulations put limits on the use of heavy metals that are necessary to create those colors.

Uroboros and Bullseye Glass in Portland were required to install new pollution control equipment and follow federal guidelines for continuous furnaces.

Lovell told KOIN in March that production was down to a third of what it was at the start of 2016 and he was crunching numbers, looking at the future of Uroboros.

At the height of the toxic air crisis, Uroboros told KOIN it had always followed the rules and that testing didn’t prove they were emitting anything excessive.

“I’m sad. I really am,” Jessica Applegate with the Eastside Portland Air Coalition said “I don’t think anyone wants to see anyone go out of business.”

Applegate said the DEQ’s lack of funding and rules or regulations for air quality for decades have meant that everybody loses.

In the coming weeks, new,  permanent rules will be set for glass makers, spelling out exactly what they can use and how much.

Lovell said he hopes an opportunity to sell the company will work out, but according to his statement, the plan as of now is to phase put production over the upcoming months.

“This of course is my preferred outcome. I am already in active discussions with credible interested parties,” Lovell wrote, “My goal is to find a way to provide a continuation of jobs for our staff if at all possible, continuation of your supply of Uroboros’ unique products, and a continuation of the brand itself.”

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