Tag Archives: diesel

diesel issues

Diesel pollution townhall forum

On September 26, BAC is hosting a citywide townhall forum on a problem that especially affects our neighborhood, diesel pollution. All of Portland is affected, though, and we are working with neighbors throughout the metro area to organize the event. (see the Brooklyn neighborhood calendar). This is an important opportunity to learn about the problem and ask our local elected leaders and candidates for office what they plan to do to protect our health.

Stopping Diesel Pollution

Our neighborhood association  (Brooklyn Action Corps)  has joined a citywide coalition of neighborhoods to address Portland’s longstanding and worsening diesel pollution problem.

On September 26, we will host a citywide Town Hall  forum on diesel pollution, inviting subject matter experts to help us understand the scope of the crisis, and a panel of elected officials and candidates to ask what can be done.


Diesel Pollution Town Hall

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sacred Heart Catholic Church,  3910 SE 11th Ave.

Portland, Oregon 97202

(Here is an event flyer to share with others.)

Come learn about diesel pollution and what you can do about it. Did you know Portland has some of the most dangerous air in the U.S. according to the E.P.A. Diesel particiulates are so tiny, they pass right through alveoli and send airborne poisons  throughout the bloodstream to vital organs. Hear from a subject matter expert and ask questions of local candidates and elected officials to protect public health?

Note for the event: sign language interpretation is available if requested by September 15, 2018. Please contact Bevan at 503-887-6379 to make a request.

The National Air Toxics Assessment shows that Portland’s airshed is bursting with a toxic stew consisting of dozens of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, including 49 that are carcinogenic. The assessment was based on  2011 data that took several years for the EPA to analyze and compile.

What is a diesel particulate?

Also know as “black soot,” a diesel particulate is a product of diesel combustion. When diesel fuel is burned, the exhaust contains tiny particles of carbon surrounded by layers of toxic chemicals and gases. Here is a diagram of one diesel particulate. It is 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller.  A micron = 1 millionth of a meter. A human blood cell is 6 microns in diameter. A human hair = the diameter of about 28 particulates. Several thousand particulates would  fit on a period.  Image source: Clean  Air Task Force.

These tiny particulates evade our body’s defenses, pass through our lungs into our bloodstream, and lodge in our organs, including the brain.

Brooklyn and adjacent neighborhoods are severely affected because of the  Brooklyn Rail Yard. Locomotives idle 24/7, and the majority of intermodal freight trucks serving the yards lack any modern emissions controls.

Join our mailing list on the form below, to receive news and updates on this important issue.

Read our fact sheet: “Portland Neighbors Addressing Diesel Pollution.”

Here are the information sources recommended by the fact sheet.

“Brooklyn Rail Yard Report” (2017) by Creston-Kenilowrth Association.

“Airborne Particulate Matter and Public Health” (2015) by  Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“Portland Area Unfiltered Commercial Diesel Trucks over 26,000 lbs.” (2018) by Portland Clean Air.

“Diesel Truck Mitigation” (2018) by Portland Clean Air.

See these additional sources:

On Portland’s diesel pollution

“Portland air among worst in nation”

“EPA grant will fund deep dive into Portland diesel exhaust”

“Oregon DEQ Air Toxics Program”

“How will Oregon Clean up Diesel Pollution? Volkswagen Settlement Fuels A Fight To Phase Out Dirty Old Diesel Engines” PBS News Hour.

“Portland Scientists to Study Local Threat from Diesel Exhaust” (2018) by Oregon Public  Broadcasting.

Portland Clean Air (2015). “Industrial Diesel in Portland”  with Diesel Particulate Map for Portland, by Portland Clean Air.

Linda George, Professor of Environmental Science and Management, Portland State University (2018). An excellent, comprehensive, You Tube introduction to diesel emissions and their effects.

Linda George paper on pollution modelling

On the Brooklyn Rail Yard

Kevin Downing (2011), “Railyard Emissions in Portland Area with Particular Consideration for the Brooklyn Yard”

Reed Magazine (2014). “Senior Thesis Tracks Pollution at Portland Rail Yard”

On health impacts of air pollution, including diesel

Washington Post (Sep 5, 2018): Diesel exposure a major risk factor for dementia

Guardian (August 26, 2018). Air Pollution Causes Huge Reduction in Intelligence, Study Reveals

Oregon DEQ (2018). “Health Effects of Diesel Exhaust”

Portland Air Toxics Solutions Advisory Committee (2011) Pollutant Modeling Summary (2017 Predictions)

Oregonian (7-23-2018). “What’s in Portland’s Smoky Air?  We talked to an air scientist.”

Can we reduce our exposure to diesel exhaust?

Greg Bourget, Portland Clean Air (August 24, 2018), “On HEPA filters to reduce diesel contamination”

Our Pollution Dilemma in a Broader Context

 Independent Science News“Designed to Fail: Why our Regulatory Agencies Don’t Work”

Cascadia Times (8-28-2018), “DEQ in the Dark” 

Click on these website links

Clean Air Task Force

Doctors Against Diesel (A U.K. sroup)

Oregon DEQ Air Quality

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Oregon Environmental Council

Portland Clean Air

U. S. Environmental Protection Administration 


DEQ Monitoring Station,  5824 Lafayette Street, Portland
Brooklyn Rail Yard at the Holgate Boulevard Bridge

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