Forced to Leave Portland For Cleaner Air

In Pollution by OLCVstaff

The Oregonian’s groundbreaking reporting in the series “Polluted by Money” brought us all the heartbreaking story of Dayna Jones and her son. In 2015, Dayna moved to Portland along with her husband, daughter, and 2-year-old son. She was studying law at Lewis & Clark, and, at first, everything was going well. She and her family loved exploring the outdoors, from the forests to the waterfalls to the tulip fields. Oregon felt like home. But, just three years later, they were forced to leave their southwest Portland home. Why? Because the poor air quality was affecting their son’s health.

Ask your legislators: bring House Bill 2007 to a floor vote, and improve Oregon’s diesel air pollution. 

Dayna and her family lived next to a busy highway, and the air pollution was so bad that it took her son to the emergency room multiple times. Doctors diagnosed him with reactive airway disease, which, essentially, meant that he was reacting to large amounts of pollution in the air. Much of Portland suffers from poor air quality, and Dayna’s house was in a particularly bad hot spot for diesel pollution. As much as they loved Portland, Dayna passed on jobs in Oregon and instead took an opportunity in New Mexico, where they hoped the air would be cleaner and healthier for their son.

Reactive airway disease and other ailments caused by diesel pollution are not uncommon. According to the EPA, as many as 460 premature deaths per year are caused by Oregon’s diesel pollution. This legislative session, we have the chance to make a difference.Ask your legislators to bring HB 2007 to the floor.

HB 2007 is one of the Oregon Conservation Network’s 2019 Priorities for a Healthy Oregon. If passed, HB 2007 would help reduce diesel air pollution in Oregon by ending the purchase of heavy-duty diesel engines made before 2007, setting a deadline for heavy-duty diesel trucks to run on cleaner engines as soon as possible, allowing cities and counties to set stronger rules against idling, and directing funds to clean up dirty diesel engines in vulnerable communities. Can you send an email to your legislators, and ask them to bring HB 2007 to a floor vote? The clock is ticking: legislators only have 21 days left in the session to pass this bill.

In New Mexico, Dayna’s son has had no health issues. Of Portland’s air pollution, she told The Oregonian that “this is something lawmakers could actually cure here, it was kind of like, our life was in your hands, obviously you’re going to save it, right? Like obviously you’ll do the right thing? It’s still not done.”

Now, HB 2007 can make a big difference in our air quality. Please, can you send your legislators a message, and ask them to bring the bill to the floor for a vote? There are many more people out there who are suffering from Portland’s poor air quality. It’s even taking a toll on the health of those who haven’t yet felt the symptoms. Our health is at stake, and lawmakers need to be held accountable. Please send an email to your legislators today!