A few dozen Portlanders rallied at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Thursday to demand stronger action against air polluters, in light of recently discovered concentrations of heavy metals.
“Clean air now! Clean air now!” they chanted as they delivered a letter to the Department of Environmental Quality’s downtown Portland office.
Susan Beal was among demonstrators backing a letter to Gov. Kate Brown. It calls on lawmakers to address Portland’s air toxics, even as the legislative session ended Thursday.
“We’re looking for the same kind of special session that a few years back was called for the Nike and Intel corporate situation, just because our public health emergency … is too dangerous to just leave until 2017,” Beal said.
“The Legislature approved my request to put aside $2.5 million to fund the clean air program at the Department of Environmental Quality,” Brown said.
DEQ director Dick Pederson has said his agency doesn’t need more laws to curtail air emissions. He said the department is planning to draft new rules.
The longtime DEQ head is stepping down later this month for health reasons. Brown said she did not ask him to resign.