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Wheeler Takes Aim at Oregon DEQ for Arsenic & Cadmium Levels in SE Portland

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

 

Ted Wheeler

Mayoral candidate Ted Wheeler blasted the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday for a “lack of urgency and leadership” in dealing with toxic emissions in Southeast Portland.

Wheeler compared the DEQ’s actions to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, saying that the lack of ownership over toxins led in part to the crisis in Michigan.

“What we are learning from Flint, Michigan, where the water is unusable because of high levels of lead, is that bad things happen when regulators are asleep at the switch,” said Wheeler. "It's unconscionable that Oregon regulators knew about the air pollution for three years, but didn't seem to make any real attempt to locate the source."

Bullseye Glass, the company whose emissions were tied to air pollution near SE 22nd Ave. and SE Powell Blvd. in Portland, was emitting heavy metals that resulted in air with fifty times the normal levels of cadmium and 150 times the normal levels of arsenic.

Both chemicals are known to increase the risk of cancer at those levels. Exposure to elevated levels of arsenic can cause health risks, including bladder, skin and lung cancer. Cadmium affects the kidneys and lungs.

“Some in state government said they were glad the emissions had stopped – glad isn’t good enough,” Wheeler said.

 

Related Slideshow: SLIDESHOW: Ted Wheeler Announces Portland Mayoral Candidacy on Rooftop of Revolution Hall

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler was joined by the press and many close friends, family members, and supporters on the rooftop of Revolution Hall off of SE Stark so that he could officially make his candidacy announcement for Portland mayor in the 2016 mayoral race.

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Wheeler's podium before his arrival.

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A string of Wheeler supporters stood behind him during his announcement. 

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Wheeler supporters wait for his arrival.

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Representative Lew Frederick (D) from District 43 is a Wheeler supporter.

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A Wheeler staffer readies reporters for Wheeler's entrance.

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Media and Wheeler staffers at the announcement speech.

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A reporter at the announcement speech. 

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Ted Wheeler arrived on the rooftop to heavy applause. 

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Representative Lew Frederick (D) from District 43 gave the opening speech at the Wheeler mayoral announcement.

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The Portland business community turned out to speak on Wheelers' behalf. 

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The owner of Mother's Bistro, Lisa Schroeder, gave a speech in honor of Ted Wheeler's candidacy announcement.

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Lisa Schroeder and Ted Wheeler shake hands. 

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Ted Wheeler gave his speech with supporters surrounding him. 

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Mayoral Candidate Ted Wheeler spoke of repaving roads, helping the homeless, issues of racial equity, and resurrecting the "Portland weird" of former Portland mayor Sam Adams. 

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Supporters and media watched as Wheeler spoke. 

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Wheeler greeted supporters after his speech. 

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Wheeler shook hands with supporters after his speech. 

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Ted Wheeler's wife, Katrinka Wheeler, whispers something into her husband's ear as he thanks friends and supporters after his announcement speech.

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Ted Wheeler hugged one of his supporters. 

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Ted Wheeler's mother pets a visiting dog after her son's announcement. 

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"He's an ally to the LGBT community, he cares about making the situation better for the homeless -- and he has a long history of showing that he cares," said owner of Mother's Bistro Lisa Schroeder. 

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Katrina Wheeler speaks with her husband's mother as well as friends after her husband's announcement speech. 

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Media and Wheeler supporters stuck around after Wheeler's speech. 

 
 

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