PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The anger and frustration of Portland residents regarding toxic air emanating from local glass companies have reached the ears of legislators in Salem, who have already landed on a possible solution: replacing the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with Dairy Queen (DQ).
"If you think about it, there's only one letter difference," said Rep. Philip Hastings, D-Tualatin, who introduced the legislation Tuesday. "We'll just scratch the 'E' off DEQ letterhead, and BOOM. Not only have we saved taxpayers thousands in stationary costs, we'll have replaced an untrustworthy organization with a universally adored ice cream shop. In the politics game, that's called a 'win-win'."
Earlier this month it was revealed that Portland glass manufacturers Bullseye and Uroboros were suspected of emitting cancer-causing toxins into adjoining neighborhoods—but accusations didn't stop there. The DEQ has been charged with ignoring the potentially dangerous problem, and catering to business interests rather than protecting the environment. While officials in the agency are quick to deny these allegations, they also see how turning their responsibilities over to Dairy Queen could be a positive move.
"We categorically deny that our investigators would do anything to place Portland residents in danger," said DEQ spokesperson Jeff Dickinson. "That being said, Dairy Queen is freaking awesome, particularly their Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Blizzard, which is to die for. Trust me, right now I'd much rather be the spokesperson for DQ—especially if the position offered free Dilly bars."
Many neighbors are also backing the idea, but want to push the concept even further.
"The DEQ has let us down and should be dissolved," said Karen Slater, president of activist group Healthy Neighborhoods Southeast. "Not only that, we want Bullseye and Uroboros to be taken over by Dairy Queen as well. We don't want anything pumped into our neighborhood except maybe soft serve ice cream—preferably dipped in a crunchy chocolate shell."
Freddy "Mad Dog" Jensen, a 17-year-old who has been employed at the Sellwood Dairy Queen franchise for two summers in a row, expressed interest in the proposed legislation as well.
"That'd be fucking sick, dude," Jensen replied. "I already have 'tang lined up around the block when I'm slinging [ice] cream—but if I was authorized to monitor air quality and require businesses to come into compliance, or risk stiff fines or even prosecution? I'd be all up in that shit. SO HARD."