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

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”

NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes, 10.13.14

Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee

October 13, 2014

Present: Kathy Sharp, Bob L, Jorjan Parker, Evan Farnham, Sharon Genasci

We met in the Breakfast Room at the Silver Cloud Inn, beginning with a report from Sharon about the AQC’s (Air Quality Committee) draft amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Copies of the draft amendments were sent in advance to AQC and Planning Committee members. The amendments will formally be presented to the city on November 3rd in a presentation from the NWDA Planning Committee. AQC and Transportation committees are joining Planning in the Comprehensive Plan presentation. Sharon handed round a draft handout for the November 3rd presentation, which was edited by AQC members at the meeting.

Bob L agreed to research ESCO odor complaints for the NAC (ESCO Neighborhood Advisory Committee) meeting, which is scheduled for October 27th at 5:00 P.M. at Friendly House.

Kathy gave an update on the Good Sam clean diesel work underway. There has been a delay due to a staff illness, but things are moving forward. We sent the hospital details of our clean diesel agreement with John Residential, and this is being passed around among Good Sam representatives.

Sharon and Kathy reported on the Site Logistics meeting on October 12th to discuss some problems with low tier equipment, mainly excavator trucks, some concrete pumps, and a few other pieces of equipment on site at the New Seasons and housing under construction on NW 22nd and Raleigh.
John Residential is working on this.

Kathy presented a draft of a new AQC Work Plan, which the group was very pleased with. This will be presented to the NWDA Board. for final approval.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee Agenda 10.13.14

Agenda, NWDA Air Quality Committee

October 13, 7:00 p.m., Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn, NW 24th Place and Vaughn
1. AQC amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan – Sharon

2. Odor complaints

3. Good Sam update – Kathy Sharp

4. Site Logistics report (NWDA oversight for clean diesel in New Seasons construction, NW 22nd & Raleigh) – Sharon

5. ESCO NAC (neighborhood advisory committee) meeting 5:00 p.m., Friendly House, October 27th Public welcome.

6. AQC Work Plan

NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes 9.8.14

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AQC (Air Quality Committee) Meeting Minutes, 9.8.14
Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn , 7:00 pm

Present: Kathy Sharp, Bob L, Jorjan Parker, Evan Farnham, Sharon Genasci

There was some discussion about the signage at the New Seasons Store, the first project under the Clean Diesel Agreement with John Residential. As part of the agreement we had discussed the use of signage at the site to notify neighbors of the reduction in diesel during construction. The sign will read, “Clean Diesel Works Here, Reducing Diesel Emissions During Construction” There Was agreement that this was appropriate.

It was decided that we might look to the City to get help with old, diesel trucks, such as those used during excavation, which still remain a problem.

Kathy presented a rough draft of her submission for the Comprehensive Plan from the AQC. Committee members were asked to look it over and make suggested changes. The AQC would like to see the City issuing building permits that require measures to reduce emissions into Portland’s airshed.

One person gave the example of a recent open, asphalt kettle streaming pollution in NW Neighborhood air for the last three weeks.

Kevin Downing, at a recent EPA conference on diesel wrote the committee that the clean diesel agreement with John Residential was used at the conference as an example of successful neighborhood activism.

Several complaints about ESCO odors were received recently.
Sharon Genasci

NWDA Air Quality Committee

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. NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes

Present: Bob L, David Arrow, Judy Grace, Myriam Alaux, Joe Keller, Scott Becker, Evan Farnham, Jorjan Parker, Sharon Genasci

Sharon reported on several meetings of the Site Logistics Plan group of the John Residential clean diesel good neighbor agreement. The SLP as it is called, was designed to provide oversight for the GNA (Good Neighbor Agreement) to verify that the terms of the agreement are being met by the developer. John Residential have sent full details of equipment as it comes on site.

The data is evaluated by both developer and the neighborhood clean diesel committee, using a Chicago formula to determine the degree to which tier 4 is being attained. Tier 4 is the best retrofit to reduce diesel particulate, which is of most concern. Tier 4 was the level of retrofit agreed in the GNA.

To date we are all learning to use the formula. The committee is working well, and we have been on site to see that most excavation is now complete on the first project (between NW 22nd and 21st and Raleigh) which will be housing and a New Seasons Store. The process is the beginning of a ten year agreement, and some kinks still need to be worked out.

David gave an update on his and Judy’s continued problems at their low cost housing site next to the Railroad Station. The Amtrak trains are idling many hours during the night and diesel fumes are entering their apartments. Neighbors from housing nearby also have complained to DEQ.

This is a problem that has not been currently solved. AQC are working with Kevin Downing at DEQ to see whether a smaller electric engine can be used for idling. We hope to meet with Amtrak officials to see what can be done.

Kathy Sharp is out of town, so Sharon reported on discussions she and Kathy have had with Good Samaritan Hospital about a clean diesel agreement concerning hospital owned vehicles and delivery vehicles to the hospital using clean diesel. The agreement would also include replacing a 50 year old generator. Originally Good Sam planned to replace it in three years. Now it is scheduled for replacement in 18 months.

There was some discussion about the monitoring plan scheduled for Chapman School, under the GNA with ESCO. The group was disappointed that the Chapman School site will not provide information about the results of controls ESCO put on to reduce their toxic emissions.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee, NAC Meeting Notes, 7.11.14

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NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Committee Meeting) Notes
ESCO Good Neighbor Agreement

July 11, 2014

Present: ESCO, Travis Quarles, Shannon Huggins, Emily Owens and Catherine Robinson; NAC representatives, Aubrey Baldwin, Chair, Tom Giese, John Krallman and Mary Peveto, Neighbors for Clean Air, Bob Amundson, Kathy Sharp and Sharon Genasci, NWDA

Aubrey announced that she was taking a new job teaching at PCC Cascade, and her schedule is yet to be decided. All present asked her to continue as Chair, and change NAC meetings to suit her new schedule.

Aubrey and Travis talked about the Annual ESCO tours of Plants 1 and 3, held on May 12th The people who attended were appreciative of the tours, but ESCO and NAC representatives were disappointed in the numbers who turned out. It was decided that next year notice about the tours should go out sooner. Mary suggested that it might work well to link the tours to information about emergency response plans.

John spoke about the Emergency Response Plan. He and Bob Holmstrom have worked on this. There is no final plan yet. Travis agreed to send out the current draft plan.

John introduced the Chapman School Monitoring Plan, which is funded by ESCO under terms of the GNA. NCA is carrying out the project with GCM (Global Community Monitoring) and Linda George and students at PSU. A draft of the plan was distributed to NAC members for discussion.

The plan calls for two types of particulate monitoring, PM 10 and the much smaller PM 2.5. The plan is to start monitoring for PM 10 and later switch to PM 2.5. Bob Amundson, who ran monitoring programs for NWDA Health & Environment Committee (now NWDA Air Quality Committee) for many years pointed out that PM 2.5 would pose the most serious problems for children’s health, so it might be best to start with the PM 2.5.

Sharon added that the monitoring sites at Chapman (2 monitors) will be useful as far as showing the quality of the air at the school over the year of the tests, but probably will not be useful in showing whether ESCO’s new controls are working as planned, because of wind speed and direction at that site.

Aubrey and Travis said that the monitoring was not intended to find a source, only to see levels of pollution at Chapman.

Travis then spoke about ESCO’s progress under the GNA.
They have now found a new binder with lower levels of phenol and naphthalene for Plant 1. He promised to send out to NAC members details about the new binder.

In answer to Aubrey’s question about the total reduction in
emissions with the new binder, Travis said they haven’t done final calculations yet.

Sharon Genasci, Chair NWDA Air Quality Committee

Agenda, NWDA AQC Meeting, June 2nd, 2014, 7:00 pm

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Agenda, NWDA AQC Meeting, June 2nd, 2014, 7:00 pm, Breakfast Room, Silver Cloud Inn, 24th & NW Vaughn

1. Report on EPA grant to retrofit small, and minority contractors with tier 4 to reduce diesel emissions.
2. Report on first Site Logistics Plan meeting for Good Neighbor Agreement to reduce diesel emissions in the Con-way Master Plan area construction.
3. Status of Good Sam diesel reduction discussions
4. Reverse 911 registration
5. Website suggestions to improve outreach
6. Esco odor complaints
7. Restaurant odors, and how to work with the City to regulate stack emissions.

NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes

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Minutes, NWDA Air Quality Committee Meeting

May 12, 2014

Present: Kathy Sharp, Bob L, Evan Farnham, Jorjan Parker, Sharon Genasci

The NWDA Air Quality Committee is applying for an EPA grant to extend to other projects the Committee’s clean diesel work for the Con-way Master Plan area of the neighborhood (20 acres in the NE corner of the NW neighborhood). The Committee participated with NWDA Board President, Phil Selinger and Kevin Downing from DEQ to negotiate with Con-way and CE John to use tier 4 retrofits (highest reduction of diesel) on construction equipment in the Con-way area over ten years. The first project will be a New Seasons grocery store for NW 22nd and Raleigh. The final agreement, which includes oversight by the neighborhood, was with CE John, who has since reorganized to form a new development company called Cairn Pacific LLC. John Residential Group will remain the contractor for the New Seasons project, scheduled to start work building in mid June.

The new EPA grant application will focus mainly on low income and minority sub-contractors, providing funding for tier 4 retrofits. The AQC is working on this project with Kevin Downing as a consultant, as well as Lisa Arkin at Beyond Toxics in Eugene.

Kathy Sharp briefed the Committee on the meeting with Thomas Bickett, System Director, Facility Operations. Legacy Health (Good Sam Hospital) and Megan Turnell, Public & Community Relations Specialist, Good Sam. Kathy, Sharon and Kevin Downing, DEQ, continued prior discussions held at an NWDA Board meeting with Jonathan Avery, the new CEO at Good Sam, about the urgent need to replace the hospital generator (fifty years old). The generator, which is tested every month, emits large amounts of diesel pollution into some of the hospital rooms. Currently, the generator is scheduled for replacement in 18 months time. They also discussed Kevin’s suggestion to use clean diesel for all hospital related vehicles. They did agree to shut off the hospital air intake when the generator is being tested or used.

Bob l spoke about the continued odor complaints, mostly about ESCO odors and emissions. These complaints on the AQC website,, describe the ongoing problems in the neighborhood, particularly along Thurman and streets nearest to the industrial area, in spite of the controls (20 per cent reduction over five years) in the Good Neighbor Agreement with ESCO.

AQC members were urged to attend the NWDA Annual General meeting and election on May 19th, 6:00 pm, Wistar Morris Room at the Good Sam main building, 1015, NW 22nd.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

Air Quality Committee Agenda, May 12th, 2014

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1. Begin discussions about EPA Clean Diesel grant, a collaboration – Sharon
2. Briefing on Good Sam discussions about clean diesel -Kathy
3. Update from Tom DiChiara on status of New Seasons project and the GNA In the Con-way Master Plan area
4. ESCO tour and NAC Meeting
5. Odor complaints and website – Bob L
6. New Business

Neighborhood Advisory Committee Meeting (NAC) Notes April 25, 2014

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(The NAC Committee was set up under the ESCO Good Neighbor Agreement in 2012) April 25, 2014, Friendly House, 9:00 am

Present:  Shannon Huggins, Public Affairs, ESCO, Travis Quarles, ESCO Environmental Engineer, Kathryn Robinson, ESCO Environmental Engineer, Aubrey Baldwin, NAC Chair, Bob Amundson, NWDA Rep, Kathy Sharp, NWDA Alternate Rep, Sharon Genasci, NWDA Rep, Tom Giese, NCA Rep, John Krallman, NCA Rep,

The meeting opened with a welcome to all present from Aubrey Baldwin.  Introductions followed.  Aubrey announced that Kathy Sharp was selected by the NWDA Board as an alternate Representative to the NAC.

A discussion followed of times and arrangements for the Annual Public Tour of ESCO plants 1 and 3.  ESCO proposed the tours be held on May 12th .  The tour of Plant 3 would be from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, and of Plant 1, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.  The tours are open to the public, and are proposed to offer neighbors the opportunity to ask any questions and to learn about the functions of the plant.  If enough people ask for an alternate date that might be possible too.  Please contact any NAC Rep, or ESCO if you wish to participate
in the plant tours.

The ESCO NAC Report was presented by Travis Quarles.  The full report will be posted on ESCO’s NAC website.  One aspect of the report covers the progress of the controls and other measures that ESCO is taking to satisfy the Good Neighbor Agreement.  And while total emissions reductions under the agreement are only 20 per cent of total emissions, reductions are occurring as new controls come on line (see the report for details).

The report points out that complaints about ESCO odors are fewer this last year.  In fact the sample of complaints was too small (Bob Amundson pointed out) to draw many conclusions about which processes in the plant are the main source of problem odors. Sharon brought to the meeting 17 ESCO odor complaints received on NWDA’s odor complaint site since November, 2013.  People living near the plant are reporting to the NWDA Air Quality Committee that odors have continued, but they are not reporting, because they are discouraged.  Since ESCO is now investigating ESCO odor complaints, to determine which processes in the plant are causing the odors, it would be helpful for people to regularly report any problems they have with ESCO’s emissions and odors.  Summer is the time of year when we mostly receive odor complaints, because of summer wind direction that blows through the industrial area into the neighborhood.

Finally, a sub group from the NAC met with ESCO representatives to discuss emergency response alternatives for the neighborhood.  Following is a link to sign up for Portland’s Multnomah County’s emergency notification system (reverse 9-1-1).  The joint City of Portland and Multnomah County  Community emergency notification system is able to send phone, text/SMS and email alerts in an  emergency situation..  Alerts may suggest safety actions, such as staying inside (shelter in place), or  evacuating:

Sharon Genasci, Chair NWDA Air Quality Committee

NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes April 14, 2014

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Present: Bob L, Evan Farnham, David Arrow, Judy Grace, Sharon Genasci

First item of business was the election of the representative from the AQC to the Site Logistics Plan meetings under the Clean Diesel Good Neighbor Agreement with John Residential in the Con-way Master Plan area. Sharon received a unanimous vote to be the representative from the AQC.

The group went on to discuss how the neighborhood might work in partnership with the City to implement clean diesel agreements in other parts of Portland, in order to reduce diesel emissions throughout the city. Diesel is a known carcinogen.

Two people at the meeting then raised the issue that their housing, which is located next to the railroad station in downtown Portland, is being polluted by diesel on a regular basis when trains are idling, particularly during the night. The Committee will work on this.

Regarding the Clean diesel Good Neighbor Agreement with John Residential, the first Site Logistics Plan meetings will be for the construction of the New Seasons Grocery on NW Raleigh and 22nd. We don’t have a definite start date for construction yet, because of pending permits.

The AQC also would like to see Good Samaritan Hospital use clean diesel. Opportunities exist within their fleet, vehicles delivering goods to the hospital and especially their aged back-up generator, which is tested monthly and put into operation when there is a power cut. Diesel fumes fill the neighborhood and are brought into hospital units through the air systems.

Sharon and Bob pointed out that odor complaints about ESCO are continuing, in spite of the GNA agreed with ESCO several years ago and the improvements they have made.

A meeting of the NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Committee under the GNA) is scheduled for April 25th at 9:00 am at Friendly House. The public is free to attend.

The AQC voted unanimously to choose Kathy Sharp as an alternate to the NAC from NWDA.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee


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