Science & Environment

Portland roofing company to pay $1.45M for air pollution

By Todd Milbourn (OPB)
July 29, 2022 9:36 p.m. Updated: Aug. 1, 2022 6:05 p.m.

The settlement stems from uncontrolled formaldehyde emissions at a factory in North Portland

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add a response from Herbert Malarkey Roofing Co.

A Portland roofing company will pay $1.45 million for air quality violations that took place over a 10-year period. The fine is the largest in the history of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.


The state says Herbert Malarkey Roofing Co. failed to control emissions from its facility on Columbia Boulevard in North Portland, and the pollution spoiled the air for people in the surrounding neighborhood. In particular, the state says Malarkey failed to control emissions of formaldehyde. That chemical is used as a binding agent in the production of roofing shingles and can also cause cancer.

The $1.45 million fine is less than the $2.1 million fine the state originally levied in 2021. DEQ says the violations began in 2009 when Malarkey modified one of its emissions units but did not alert regulators. The state says emissions flowed largely unchecked until 2020 when Malarkey added a thermal oxidizer control device.


The settlement gives Malarkey the option of paying for air quality improvements as part of its fine.

“Supplemental environmental projects are a critical remedy for the communities harmed by environmental violations,” said Kieran O’Donnell, DEQ Office of Compliance and Enforcement Manager, in a statement. “This agreement puts Malarkey on track for compliance and gives the company the opportunity to engage with the surrounding community to rectify the violations.”

The settlement calls for Malarkey to provide monthly updates on its emissions. It also allows Malarkey to pay some of its fine by funding environmental projects.

Malarkey said in a statement it plans to direct more than $1 million to supplement environmental projects in North Portland. One of the proposed projects — which still needs DEQ approval —is to provide funding for Friends of Trees-led plantings in North Portland neighborhoods.

“We are committed to operate according to the highest standards of health, safety and environment across all our sites. That’s why we took immediate corrective action and resolved the air emission issue once we became aware of it” Dale Rushing, Malarkey president, said in a statement. “Malarkey Roofing Products has been rooted in the North Portland community for nearly 70 years. We take our responsibility as a neighbor very seriously and are looking forward to working together with local organizations to fund their environmental projects.”


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