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Formerly the home of Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth, the Portland Land Matters blog explores citywide land-use concerns, such as home demolitions, with the belief that development should create an improvement.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

You're invited, but not really

Keeping Portland weird all right. Photo by Heath Lynn Silberfeld.
Now that Oregon Senate Bill 705—which requires an accredited inspector to perform an asbestos survey before demolition—has passed both the Senate (April 30) and the House (June 9), Portland's Hazardous Materials Task Force has something substantial to talk about when it meets tomorrow.

The powers that be at the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) and its task force seem to be in the painful position of including the public when they discuss and decide on public policy. Witness this announcement of the meeting tomorrow, and its caution:

 "we have most of the seats spoken for by BDS and other agency staff, so I would request that you limit the number of people you send."

The meeting runs 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at 1900 S.W. Fourth Ave., Room 6E. Feel free to stand up for your right not to ingest hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos emanating from the Great House Harvest of 2013, 2014, and now 2015, as Portland continues its run of record-breaking numbers of home demolitions.

The good news is that Senator Dembrow, who helped spearhead SB 705, has more in mind. Here's his update (with emphasis added) as SB 705 wended its way through the legislature, and before it passed the House:

"The bill passed the Senate on a 22-8 vote, and I expect similar strong support in the House next week. Once the session ends, we’ll start working on similar legislation regarding testing homes slated for demolition for lead paint." 

Dembrow and the other state leaders who helped make asbestos protection happen—Rep. Keny-Guyer, Sen. Shields, and Reps. Frederick, Nosse, and Smith Warner—are looking out for us even if city leaders won't or can't. Please thank these conscientious players in Salem and applaud their continuing work to protect neighbors and neighborhoods. Read here and the next post for more on hazmat fallout from demolitions and its dangers.