NW PDX Industry Voluntarily Agrees to Pollute Less


polluter in rich neighborhood full of well-organized honkies folds like a house of cards.

meanwhile, in the poor neck of the woods... not much changes.
@Dreww - Get over yourself. The neighborhood fought for 16 years, ESCO didn't "fold like a house of cards." That's a gross misstatement. The neighborhood was determined to be one of the worst air-quality zones in the country at one point, and all it would have taken to fix it was a $5 million dollar investment from a company with almost a billion in sales.

The neighbors should have banned together and burnt that mother fucker to the ground years ago. It's literally killing their children. But hey, at least now they have a promise from the company to fix it.
"killing their children" ?
Let's not exaggerate too much, OK?
there are definitely worse places in the city, and the state for that matter than the NW neighborhoods around ESCO. what it really comes down to, is that a small, incredibly vocal, privileged and wealthy group managed to push an industrial polluter above and beyond what was required. is it a good thing? absolutely. less bad stuff in the air is great.

and.. as for the "killing their children" comment... ESCO has been there for a long time, long before the folks living in the affected neighborhoods moved in, so their purchase of those expensive properties was a calculated risk. I find it interesting that the clean air groups that have attacked ESCO haven't bothered with polluters in the less affluent areas of portland...
Well said reece.
Anytime a company goes above and beyond pollution requirements is a good thing, certainly - but I've never really noticed any smell, etc when I've been over in that area. Which is fairly often too.
I have the impression that some of these people just won't be pleased till the company is shut down.
Felt good to see the Mercury finally covering ESCO developments and note the long-running neighborhood activist campaign that yielded result. However, they didn't mention the most tenacious and effective of the neighborhood activist groups in NW namely the NWDA; (Northwest District Association's Health & Environment committee's persistent
and thorough chair, Sharon Genasci, whose house hosted the meetintgs for years). Nor did the Mercury mention the heroic role played by Allan Classen's neighborhood
monthly paper the NW Examiner which provided the only regular coverage of ESCO's discharges and the neighborhood activists' struggles and changing tactics in the face of
DEQ running interference for ESCO!!


Nor any citing of creative tactics like the window decals for all those residential apartments and houses around ESCO that gave the telephone line and online link to
the clever Smell It, Report It! odor complaint forms.

However, neither the Merc, the Weak Willy (neither a repository of ESCO advertising
down through the toxic years of socialized risk and privatized profits)


or the O ever did any real-time investigative coverage like the NW Examiner's
Paul Koberstein and of late Allan Classen. The O's business section ran only brief late mention of the long history of faulty forge & foundry discharges of heavy metal soot when ESCO decided to go from private family-held LLC to publicly traded multi-national.

More disclosure on discharges & remedies for obsolete protective plant gear vis a vis the DEQ & EPA would've then been required, if not terribly rigorously enforced. Again the public is way off thinking DEQ & EPA are there to protect public from limited liability corporate polluters. As Erin Brockovich and Ed Masry learned in their case against
California's privatized PG&E and Cal\EPA the real paradigm is other way around; these state and federal environmental "watchdog" agencies are there to protect the LLC's from Public Interest litigation!
I used to live right across the street from Esco. You could hear them turning on one of their 'processes' and a few minutes later would be hit with the smell. Terrible, nauseating, headache inducing smell of hot-hot metal. And if you smell hot metal, it means you are inhaling metal, however small of particles it may be. This was back in 2003 and I seem to recall they were allowed by the state to release a couple (2-3 i think) of tons of lead into the air per year. This coupled with the rapidly accumulating grey dust that settled onto every flat surface of the apartment and the proximity to daily congestion of idling cars on the 405 was a good imperative to moving.

RE: "killing their children." I feel obligated to point out that the pollution from ESCO hasn't been linked to any diseases in the neighborhood and it's within the level the government deems safe. For what that's worth.
Douche - if you lived near a brewery, do you get drunk from the odor, which is REALLY strong? Or do you develop liver cancer?

Fermentation happens in a contained system. Brewers have no incentive for alcohol to escape their premises. What you are smelling is the mash, starches being converted to sugar.

Cognac on the other hand, evaporates off 3-5% of the alcohol while it is developing/resting in oak barrels. The French, poetic as they are, refer to this as the 'Angel's Share'.
I like that part about the 'Angels Share' - but odors don't kill. If it did, I'm sure cancer rates, etc, would be markedly higher around ESCO - and their workers especially would have much much higher cancer rates of some sort.
I haven't seen any evidence of that.
I'm unaware of any epidemiological studies on cancer rates surrounding Esco or rates of their workers., I would be interested in looking at them if you have any sources though.

Here's what I do know:

Esco releases toxics into the air daily (it's listed on their DEQ permit).

There was a constant dark gray dust covering the windows and windowsills of our apartment.

It smelled really bad, gave me headaches, my respitory system was irritated a lot.

After moving to NE the smell, headaches, and respiratory irritation stopped.