Air Quality Committee

whatsinourairThe NWDA Air Quality Committee, known as the Health and Environment Committee until a name change in February 2012, strives to monitor and improve the quality of the air in the Northwest neighborhood with the goal of creating a healthy environment for everyone living, working in, and visiting the neighborhood. Sharon Genasci chairs the Committee.

The single most important action is that citizens complain to DEQ when they smell industrial odors in the neighborhood.
Click here to go directly to the odor complaint form.

Black and White PDF format
Color PDF format

Tell them about the industrial odors you experience in Northwest Portland’s air.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales –
US Senator Ron Wyden –
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz –

If you are concerned about diesel emissions, call Kevin Downing at ODEQ (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality) tel. 503 229 6549, email, and submit an odor complaint at

Legacy Health and NWDA GNA Final (PDF)
NWDA Health & Environment Committee GNA Minority Report (PDF)
Air Quality Monitoring Program for Northwest Portland, Interim Report (PDF)
Air Quality Monitoring Program for Northwest Portland, Interim Report #2 (PDF)
Air Quality Monitoring Program for Northwest Portland, Final Report (PDF)
Air Quality Committee Achievements 1994-2012 (PDF)
Air Quality Committee Work Plan Draft (PDF)

Currently, the Air Quality Committee is working on a good neighbor agreement with Conway to achieve clean diesel construction in the Conway master plan area over the next 10 years.
Join us and help with this effort. AQC meetings are the second Monday of every month at the Sliver Cloud Inn breakfast room (NW Vaughn and 24th Place at 7pm).
Here are some links to clean diesel information and videos:
Report Finds Dirtier West Coast Trucks End Up In Oregon
City Club Report – Invisible Enemies: Reducing Air Toxics in the Portland Airshed
Watch EPA video “Breathing Clean by Building Green”

Informative and entertaining documentary on diesel, causes and solutions
Filmed in Portland, Oregon by Savannah Teller-Brown

AQC Chapman Monitoring Report

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AQC Chapman Monitoring Report 5.17.17

Report from the AQC to the NWDA Board, Annual meeting Monday, May 22, 2017
As the representative to the NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Committee), formed under the ESCO
Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA), I was asked to attend a special meeting held at ESCO
Corporation recently to discuss the outcome of the Chapman School Monitoring Project, which
was taken over and run by Neighbors for Clean Air approximately two years ago. ESCO
allocated $25,000.00 to cover the costs of the monitoring for particulate and VOCs
During the approximately year long negotiations on the GNA, ESCO refused to allow any
monitors on their fence line, so neighbors could determine whether the new controls being
installed were in fact working appropriately. Instead ESCO offered $25,000 for monitors placed
at Chapman School. Bob Amundson, who conducted monitoring for the NWDA Air Quality
Committee said at the time that Chapman School was not a suitable place to put monitors for
ESCO emissions, because of wind direction blowing away from the school. The school was also
not close enough to the plant to ensure that emissions were coming from ESCO.
Neighbors for Clean Air worked with an outside consultant, and staff and students from PSU.
The funds were spent on buying equipment that turned out to be inadequate and on lab costs.
At a recent meeting at ESCO we were told that the data is inconclusive, and NCA and PSU refuse
to do any more work on the project to supply information about several months of missing
ESCO has now closed Plant 1, but Plant 3 will continue to operate as usual. Members of the Air
Quality Committee are concerned about dust from Plant 1 contaminated with asbestos and
heavy metals released into the neighborhood during demolition and reconstruction at the site.
Sharon Genasci, NWDA Board Air Quality Point Person

NAC Meeting Minutes April 11 2017

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Neighborhood Advisory Committee Meeting minutes from April 11, 2017

NAC Meeting Minutes_April 11 2017 (PDF)

Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee, 3.14.16

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Present: Dan Packard, David Arrow, Bob L, Joe Keller, Myriam Alaux, S.Joan Glebow, jorjan Parker, Evan Farnham, Sharon Genasci

First item on the agenda was the question of ESCO’s closure of Plant 1.
It was announced at the NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Committee) meeting that the Plant 1 closure date has not been set. When Sharon questioned ESCO representatives, they said that the plant could still be operating in a year’s time.

ESCO also mentioned that they would like to begin discussions on a new Good Neighbor Agreement for the five years of the next permit. Plant 3 will continue to operate as usual. Mark Morford will continue, as in the last GNA, to serve as ESCO’s lawyer.

Discussion included all the new housing units that have gone up in the ESCO airshed since the last permit, making the need for controls on heavy metals and other pollutants even more important. We discussed the outcome of the last GNA, when our committee was not pleased with the agreement, and wrote a Minority Report to register our dissatisfaction with a 20 per cent reduction in emissions, no opportunity for fenceline monitoring to validate emissions’ levels and no controls at all on Slinger Bay, which is closest to the neighborhood with open windows and ceiling vents.

David Arrow gave a quick update on diesel emissions at the Railroad Station where trains continue to idle. Our committee was refused permission by building managers at two Portland Housing Authority buildings next to the Station, to put monitors on the rooftops to ascertain diesel levels that potentially expose housing residents.

Sharon announced she is showing her film, “What’s In Our Air?” at the Clinton Street Theater on March 21st “ at 7:00 pm. Air quality activists from across Portland will discuss DEQ plans for temporary rules for heavy metals from small art glass factories in SE Portland. The group agreed that Sharon should write testimony, urging ODEQ to write permanent rules for all businesses emitting lead, arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals that are endangering public health in Oregon.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting

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11.9.15 (Silver Cloud Inn Breakfast Room)

Present, Kathy Sharp, Bob L, Joe Keller, Ann Dart, Evan Farnham, Sharon Genasci

First off we talked about the continuing problem of trains idling at the station in downtown Portland. We have had several complaints about diesel fumes in peoples’ apartments nearby. Diesel particulate is a carcinogen of concern. We are currently monitoring near the station, but do not have data ready for public notice yet.

The Committee received a complaint on our website, from a neighbor on 24th and Pettygrove with high levels of zinc in her blood. She is anxious to discover the source. We investigated the Galvanizers in the Industrial Sanctuary, where their operations take place in open air. We will work with DEQ to investigate this and other sources of zinc, and hopefully get controls put on. She said other neighbors near her also are experiencing “dizziness, vertigo, nausea and fatigue”.

The Committee reviewed last year’s Work Plan and made a few changes. The new Work Plan will be submitted to the NWDA Board for approval.

ESCO notified the Committee that they do not want to begin negotiations on the new Good Neighbor Agreement for a new five year permit, until the New Year.

There will be no AQC meeting in December.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting Minutes

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October 12, 2015

Present: Kathy Sharp, Bob L, David Arrow, Dale Feik, Sharon Genasci

First off a discussion about train idling. One person on our Committee has a problem with diesel fumes in his apartment. The management of his affordable housing (Reach building on Lovejoy Street approach to Broadway Bridge)does not want monitors for diesel particulate on the building. No reason was given. Likewise, Bud Clark Commons homeless housing does not allow monitors. It is clearly a serious issue when management of public low income housing refuses to explore whether tenants are exposed to carcinogenic air pollution. We have had several complaints from tenants about diesel odors in their apartments from Amtrak idling all night long.

The Committee is pursuing other possibilities.

Next we took up the question of ESCO’s five year DEQ permit renewal, due in a year’s time, and the renewal of the ESCO GNA (Good Neighbor Agreement).

The current GNA was agreed by Neighbors for Clean Air and the then President of NWDA. The AQC was unhappy that the agreement accounted for only a 20 per cent reduction in highly toxic emissions and no monitoring allowed. The AQC also objected to no controls being placed on Slinger Bay, the building on 25th and Vaughn. The Committee wrote a Minority Report contesting the agreement,and is now looking for an environmental lawyer with expertise in air pollution to represent NWDA’s Air Quality Committee in any new ESCO GNA agreement.

Sharon announced the upcoming DEQ Air Toxics Advisory Committee meeting to set a new benchmark for diesel on October 21st.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting Agenda

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October 12, 2015 7:00 pm
Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn, NW 24th Place & Vaughn

1. Update on train idling
2. Discussion and agreement on a plan for the next ESCO five year permit renewal and GNA, to be presented to NWDA Board
3. Cascade Rubber emissions
4. DEQ Air Toxics Science Advisory Committee meeting to set new benchmark for diesel, Oct. 21st
5. Other business

Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee

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September 14, 2015, Breakfast Room Silver Cloud Inn

Present: Dale Feik, Edin Zulich, Bob L, Myriam Alaux, Joe Keller, David Arrow, Sharon Genasci

The meeting began with a reminder that ESCO’s current permit and the Good Neighbor Agreement (signed by the former NWDA Board President & Neighbors for Clean Air Chair) will expire in just under a year’s time.
We will need to decide how to prepare for new negotiations with ESCO for a new five year permit. The group decided to make a plan and then take it to the NWDA Board for further discussion.

David reported on the train idling problem with diesel particulate in his and other tenants’ rooms in their affordable housing near the train station. To date administrators of his building and Bud Clark Commons, housing for homeless also near the station, will not permit particulate monitors in their buildings. The EPA certified monitors were offered at no cost. He and other tenants plan to write to building administrators again
requesting the monitors.

Edin has a small child at home and is concerned about odors near his home on 20th and Quimby. Cascade Rubber, which makes parts for ESCO is located near his home. It has emissions that we have noted in the past, but have been unable to find out anything about what they are emitting because DEQ does not require a permit. DEQ told us they need more complaints from neighbors before they will take any action on the emissions. To date we have had complaints from three neighbors. We will continue to support the neighbors who would like to know what they are breathing.

Sharon passed round the Good Neighbor Agreement she and Kathy worked on with Good Sam. The Committee is very pleased with this clean diesel agreement with the hospital. NWDA Board President, Tavo Cruz, signed along with Jonathan Avery, Chief Administrative Officer, Good Sam
Hospital. We will post the agreement on our website.

Finally, Myriam raised the question how to get the City to protect mature and in some cases, historic trees that are being removed for development?
Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting Agenda

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September 14th, 7:00 pm, Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn, NW 24th Place and Vaughn

1. Esco, new permit discussion – Sharon
2. Monitoring, diesel particulate update
3. Fuel smells on the river
4. Cascade Rubber emissions
5. Clean Diesel agreement signed with Good Samaritan – Kathy
6. Con-way developments – Sharon
7. Other business

Agenda, NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting, July 13, 2015

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July 13, 2015

(Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn, 24th Place and Vaughn, 7:00 pm, July 13, 2015)

1. Train idling update – Sharon & Bob L
2. ESCO rezoning update & discussion
3. ESCO permit discussion
4. Status of Good Sam Clean Diesel Agreement

Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee, June 8, 2015

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Present: Myriam Alaux, Joe Keller, Kathy Sharp, Bob L, Jorjan Parker, Evan Farnham, Sharon Genasci

Kathy told the group that the new clean diesel GNA with Good Sam is in draft form, and will be decided most likely in the last week in June.

The train idling problem remains, sending diesel fumes and particulate into peoples’ homes near the train station. The committee has plans to deal with the problem. Details will be released later in the summer.

The committee discussed plans to reopen the agreement with Anderson Construction about using clean diesel in construction in the neighborhood. Sharon and Kathy will pursue this.

A meeting with Karen Karlsson, Juliet Hyams, Tavo Cruz, Kathy Sharp and Sharon Genasci to debrief on the year’s experience doing oversight on the Good Neighbor Agreement with John Residential (to use clean diesel in construction in the Con-way area) was held in Karen’s office. The consensus is that overall those involved are quite pleased with the work.

The main problems were with the low tier trucks that appeared a number of times on site. Eventually, the company was told that their tier 4 truck only was the one to be used on the New Seasons site. The group discussed how to avoid this problem in future. All agreed that the personnel assigned by John Residential to work with our NWDA (SLP Site Logistics Plan) group were excellent.

Sharon sent the group an article on the EPA grant to City of Roses in NE PDX to retrofit their equipment to tier 4, and purchase a new truck. Sharon Genasci, working with Kevin Downing at DEQ and Lisa Arkin at Beyond Toxics in Eugene submitted the grant in order to level the playing field, allowing minority and small contractors to compete in areas like the NW district Con-way area, where contractors must use tier 4 equipment in construction.
Submitted by Sharon Genasci

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