Uroboros Glass, one of two Portland factories that found themselves subject to new environmental regulations earlier this year after it became clear they were emitting carcinogens, will close in 2017.
The North Portland factory made that announcement today, linking to this statement via its Facebook page.
"It will be yet another shock in a tumultuous year in the glass industry, but it has become unavoidable. After 43 ½ years of continual operations in Portland, Uroboros will discontinue operations in early 2017," the "major special announcement" from Uroboros founder and president Eric Lovell says.
Lovell acknowledges that the closure was brought on by "the very high costs of meeting many new environmental, fire safety, and seismic regulations now required by our city and state." Those safety regulations include a requirement the factory install a "baghouse" filtration system on furnaces where it is melting heavy metals that can increase cancer risk.
Lovell says "the Uroboros business model and location has lost viability for the long term," but that he hopes the company can move and continue production under new ownership.
Uroboros and a local competitor, Bullseye Glass, saw major heat from regulators and community groups beginning in February, after the Mercury broke news that state officials had turned up alarmingly high rates of cadmium and arsenic in the air near Bullseye.
It emerged months later that regulators had dropped the ball when they wrote rules for the factories and those like them—they'd treated the glass-melting furnaces within as "periodic" furnaces even though they were continuously operated for long periods of time, churning out batch after batch of colored glass containing carcinogens.
Officials had even been suspicious about Uroboros in the past, but never looked into the company hard enough to reveal harmful emissions.
State and federal officials required the companies to slap filters on their furnaces, and have been monitoring air nearby. Lovell has griped at those requirements a bit, calling the government's decision to require filters "revisionist history."
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