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Fiberglass manufacturing facility on Springwater Trail will be subject of DEQ hearing

Posted by on November 30th, 2010 at 9:02 am

The Springwater Corridor Trail with
McClure Industries in the background.
(Photo: Howie Oakes)

A fiberglass product manufacturing facility that emits a hazardous air pollutant and is located adjacent to the Springwater Corridor Trail in Southeast Portland will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday. At issue is renewal of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) air pollutant permit for McClure Industries, a company that some nearby residents think needs to do more to contain the level of odors emitted from their facility.

McClure Industries uses a resin in their manufacturing process that contains styrene, which is classified as a hazardous air pollutant and a volatile organic compound (VOC). Styrene has also been described as a “suspected carcinogen” by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Howie Oakes, who lives near McClure Industries at SE 55th and Johnson Creek Blvd, says the styrene odor from the facility is “nauseating” (the US EPA lists “gastrointesinal effects” as a consequence of styrene exposure). Oakes wants to reach out to people who use the Springwater Corridor Trail, who he feels are “directly affected” by the emissions:

“I know I smell it every time I walk or ride the trail in this area. We are hoping that we can get members of the bicycling community to show up at the hearing and let DEQ know that they smell this during their commutes or other rides on the Springwater. I think that DEQ should consider the health and needs of trail users as well when deciding how a facility.”

In a review of McClure Industries’ existing permit, the DEQ found that between April 2008 and March 2010, 28 complaints had been filed against the facility. When DEQ staff conducted “unofficial odor surveys” in the area around the facility, they recorded two incidents from McClure Industries. At that time — given the level air pollutants and VOCs emitted — the DEQ decided that additional “controls on the facility” were not required.

Do you ride by this location? Have you smelled the emissions from McClure Industries? If so, consider attending the hearing on Wednesday to share your input with DEQ.

McClure Industries DEQ Hearing
Wednesday, December 1st at 6:00pm
Milwaukie Community Center (10666 SE 42nd Ave, Milwaukie)

— Learn more about the hearing and review background documents in this notice from the DEQ (PDF).

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Tourbiker November 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Wouldn’t hurt to look into Apex Anodizing too, noticed smells coming from their plant at
    7116 Southeast 92nd Avenue. process uses acid & heavy metals. (Sulfuric acid & lead)

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  • Bob_M November 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Shouldn’t the results of the hearing be determined before the article proclaims “emits hazardous air pollutant”?

    I am no fan of air pollution, but the article sure sound like judge, jury and executioner have already performed their duty.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 30, 2010 at 9:59 am


      As written in the article, it’s a known fact that McClure emits styrene, which is known to be a hazardous air pollutant. It’s also a fact that a citizen says the smell is nauseating. It’s also a fact that the DEQ has received complaints about this facility and they have noted the odor as well.

      Thanks for the comment.

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      • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

        A citizen? can this guy prove that the odor is solely responsible for his intestinal distress?

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      • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 11:19 am

        Jonathan, as with most chemicals the ‘hazardous’ part has to do with concentration and/or ability of the chemical to be absorbed by the body.

        Asbestos for instance. When not in fibrous form and airborne, it’s not going to harm anyone.

        Mr. Oakes may be hyper-sensitive to the odors, but that does not mean anyone is out of compliance. Surely people would not suggest shutting down a company because someone does not like how it smells, and we certainly should not craft regulations around the peculiarities of a single individual).

        From Wikipedia. LD = Lethal Dose:

        Styrene is only weakly toxic, with an LD50 of 500-5000 mg/kg (rats).[1][8] The US EPA has described styrene as “a suspected carcinogen” and “a suspected toxin to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system, among others.”[9][10]

        The U.S. EPA does not have a cancer classification for styrene,[11] but currently is evaluating styrene’s cancer-causing potential through its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program.[12] The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also currently is evaluating styrene’s potential toxicity.[13] To date, no regulatory body anywhere in the world has classified styrene as a known human carcinogen, although several refer to it in various contexts as a possible or potential human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers styrene to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”.[14] Chronic exposure to styrene leads to tiredness/lethargy, memory deficits, headaches and vertigo.[citation needed]

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 30, 2010 at 11:23 am

          Please be careful to not read more into the story than what is written/intended.

          No one is saying the company should be shut down or that they are out of compliance. In fact, I reported that the DEQ found that they were not out of compliance.

          This story is about an upcoming hearing for an air permit for a facility that is just steps away from a popular biking trail and the concerns of some neighbors who want DEQ to do more to curtail the odors and emissions coming from it.


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          • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

            I’m just saying that in this circumstance, dependent upon the concentration of the chemical, it may not be ‘hazardous’. it might be a nuisance, though.

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        • q`Tzal November 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

          Toxicity is not just a matter of acute exposure but chronic exposure.
          If a residence is down wind of an airborne toxin the resident gets continual exposure with no resonable avenue of escape and continued dosing as all the porous building materials release toxic gasses built up or solid/liquid particulates that have settled, and thus concentrated, are inhaled or spead through skin contact.
          Just because you don’t have a problem with the smell doesn’t mean it is harmless. Some people don’t mind the smell of cigarettes; they aren’t harmless.

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          • middle of the road guy December 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

            It also depends how long that chemical stays in the person’s system. You might have chronic exposure, but if that substance is metabolized by the body then the end result in not toxic.

            This is how medications and dosing work also (my field).

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  • Rob November 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Here’s my two cents: I would suggest that anyone planning on commenting should first study up on the issue to be able to give effective comments. Just saying that it smells and is unpleasant likely won’t go to far. It seems like the key question is whether or not the facility needs the “additional controls” (e.g., additional filters or scrubbers). Understanding what these controls are and when they are (or have been) required at other facilities may make the difference. (P.S. I agree with Jonathan, the pollutant apparently is classified as hazardous air pollutant. Whether it’s present at levels leading to hazardous health conditions is what’s at issue.)

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  • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

    April 2008 and March 2010, 28 complaints had been filed against the facility.

    This is just over 1 complaint per month. Without knowing the number of different complainers (e.g., it may have been the one guy), it really is difficult to tell of this is such a widespread issue as the article would have one believe.

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  • Steve Brown November 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Styrene is known for what those in the industry call a heavy nose. As you can guess, the PPM, parts per million in even low amounts still smells. Just the nature of the beast. FYI, the type of manufacturing process at McClure, spay-up, is still allowed in California without any restrictions. Ohio which has the strictest state laws regarding Styrene emissions is moving toward total containment of Styrene but that is still a few years off. My best guess is there is stuff you cannot taste or smell that is worse for you than a whiff of Styrene riding by McClure.

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  • David Parsons November 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Doesn’t McClure predate the conversion of that Portland Traction route into the Springwater Trail? If so, it seems rather unfair to pester an existing industry when it offends the nose of people on a new trail that was deliberately placed through an industrial area.

    (And I suspect that the pollution from the auto and truck traffic along Johnson Creek Blvd is considerably more harmful than the occasional styrene bloom.)

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    • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 11:04 am

      My first thought was NIMBY.

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    • matt picio November 30, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Also, does it seem fair to effectively kill a company that likely employs at least 50 people, many of whom probably live within the affected area?

      Unlike most industries that work with styrene, this company isn’t making disposable consumer products – the styrene is used in the coatings for durable, industrial-grade equipment. These guys aren’t Wal-Mart, they’re a local business making a durable product locally with local labor. They deserve more than a knee-jerk reaction.

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      • q`Tzal November 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        Just because something wasn’t considered a toxin in the past does not make said emissions any less harmful to the local community.
        The emitter will have the legal high ground if they can show that residents knowingly moved in to the area after it was common public knowledge that this odor is was a sign of an actual health concern and not simply an annoyance.
        The big problem here is that companies don’t usually advertise something that they have been dumping for a long time has been a toxin the whole time.

        We end up with the argument of legal responsibility vs ethical responsibility.

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        • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm

          The residents who moved in there ALSO have an ethical responsibility, one of which is to not be petty.

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          • q`Tzal November 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

            When someone poisons your water suppy or the air you breath and you get directly sick from it it is not petty to attempt to seek redress.

            We as Americans are not required to suck pollutants so that corporations can play lip sevice to preventing job loss all so that we can worship the All Mighty Buck.

            Let’s be stright: Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is greed. Just because our economic system is one of the least bad doesn’t make it perfect or even good.

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  • h November 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

    i always thought it came from Precision Cast Corp nearby. Sometimes it smells funny in that area. fortunately i live much far. No matter where i go or live, i somehow breath in some sorts of pollutants.

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  • Stig November 30, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Releasing that in a residential area? I don’t care what formulas the DEQ uses, if I lived there and my wife could smell that, there would be hell to pay.

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    • rigormrtis November 30, 2010 at 11:06 am

      That sounds like someone moving to the country and then complaining about the “dairy air”.

      What exactly would you do to an industry that is in compliance?

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  • matt picio November 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I also thought the smell was from PCC – maybe it was, I never noticed plastic smells in that area when I used to ride it daily – when did the business start operating? I stopped riding that route in 2008. (For the record, I’ve worked in a plastic injection molding plant – I’m familiar with plastics odors)

    stig – It’s an industrial area, not residential. There is a nearby apartment complex – developers will frequently site apartments next to industry, with predictable results. This area is one of the few “true” industrial sites (i.e. Heavy industry) in Portland.

    Also, to be a bit nitpicky – this is in Milwaukie, not SE Portland. Granted, that whole area is kind of messed up, since some properties are in Portland and others in Milwaukie depending on who annexed what and when.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 30, 2010 at 11:48 am

    One comment to the DEQ could relate to a higher set of mitigations if the EPA finds it to be cancer causing.

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  • howie November 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Just wanted to respond to the comments here. We have been living in the area for over 4 years, and frequently smell the emissions from McClure. It is without question, styrene coming from their facility. It is classified by DEQ as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP). It has a very distinct odor, and they are the only facility in the area that is working with polystyrene resin. They have zero filtering installed at the facility. They directly vent tons (literally) of styrene per year directly into the air over our homes. Their facility may be zoned industrial but there are hundreds of homes in this area.

    During the summer we smell this multiple times a day. At times, my children do not want to go outside. Sometimes it is so strong that we can smell it in our house. It is nauseating to me, my family and many of my neighbors and is having a major impact on our quality of life.

    Many of my friends that visit via biking or walking the trail comment on the strong smell at 55th.

    The city of Milwaukie has had complaints about this business for 15 years, and the local neighborhood association has had complaints going back that far as well.

    I can assure you that this is not just one person complaining about this…we have sent DEQ a petition with over 60 affected residents. As far as the 28 complaints, this is just what was sent to DEQ . They told us to call McClure instead of them with our complaints, which we have done many, many times.

    DEQ has informed us that they are within their emission limits. However, they are not allowed to cause a nuisance with their emissions. ORS 340-208-0300 states the following:

    Nuisance Prohibited

    (1) No person may cause or allow air contaminants from any source subject to regulation by the department to cause a nuisance.

    To our community, the emissions are clearly a nuisance. These unfiltered emissions have a major impact on our quality of life, and we should not be forced to smell and breathe them on a regular basis. The point of the public hearing is let DEQ know how this facility is effecting our community. I consider users of the Springwater trail members of our community, and if they are affected by this, then DEQ should hear about it.

    I want to make it clear that we are not trying to “shut down” McClure Industries. They have a right to be there doing what they do. We just want them to be good neighbors and citizens by recognizing and addressing the emissions resulting from making their products. There are numerous technologies available to deal with this issue, as this is a common problem in the fiberglass industry. We have researched and presented these options to McClure, but they are not interested in implementing them. We feel that trying to get DEQ to enforce it’s own nuisance rules is the only way that we are going to be able to improve the air quality of our community.

    thanks for listening,

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    • resopmok November 30, 2010 at 11:04 pm

      Wow, I think this is the most convincing side of the argument I’ve read in the comments so far. I’m not familiar with the equipment, but my assumption is that McClure has not implemented your filtering suggestions because they find it cost prohibitive to their bottom line. Probably the best way to trigger an actual response from them would be to sue for the damages their nuisance causes. Being prepared to follow through is important, and would likely require the support of all neighbors who are seriously interested in seeing results. McClure will then decide whether settling, fighting the suit or installing the filtration equipment costs more, assuming they can afford any one of them. Be very prepared to prove you did not know of the smell before you purchased the property or that you purchased your property before McClure began operations. Best of luck!

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  • Stig November 30, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    IMO they’re certainly in violation of their DEQ permit by releasing air pollutants in a way that causes a nuisance. It’s clearly a nuisance for the residents.

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  • q`Tzal November 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    A lot of the DEQ test results come down to chance and perseverance.
    Where specifically are they testing for environmental release?
    Were adjacent properties tested during down wind conditions?
    Were adjacent properties tested during stagnant valley air layer conditions?
    Were adjacent properties indoor air tested and compared to similar residential buildings over a mile away?

    Depending on how corrupt we believe the system to be any polluting company can easily ensure that testing occurs when and where they want to ensure that they pass just under the limit requiring legal action. I have worked in enough different industries to witness this across the military, industrial and food-service of all levels at every place I worked in the last 30 years.

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  • bobcycle November 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    A bit off topic but every time I go by the cement company behind OMSI adjacent to the bike path I wonder why they don’t put up a barrier of some kind. Whenever I mix concrete I wear a mask and the bag of concrete warns of health hazards so why bike through a cement cloud breathing heavy from the effort? Often wonder how pollutants counter the benefits of aerobic exercise in urban industrial areas. I haven’t changed biking habits but just makes me wonder. Areas of NW Portland industrial area have caused my eyes to sting when biking through. (Near Esco and that galvanizing place) Not blaming them, just makes me wonder. Course I’m just passing through what about the folks that work there for 30 years? I guess if they are in compliance this is the price we pay for modern conveniences.

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  • Jon November 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Great – lets chase some more domestic manufacturing away. Who need jobs anyway. I’m sure when the plants are relocated to China they will not emit anything.

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    • q`Tzal November 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Great – lets let the All Mighty Corporation ruin our health and quality of life so we can work longer.
      Don’tcha know: money solves every problem and you can’t be happy without it.
      Surprisingly enough there are a majority of businesses that employ people that don’t pollute so if the ones that insist that they have to pollute leave the area the fabric of our economy and our society won’t change.

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  • Chris November 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I ride the Springwater Corridor to work three days a week, and I will say that the odor is noticeable and significant. I have often asked myself whether that obnoxious smell is legal or not. I guess others have wondered about the same thing.

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  • Priscilla December 1, 2010 at 6:24 am

    No authoritative or regulatory body anywhere in the world classifies styrene to be a known cause of human cancer. Moreover, a study conducted by a “blue ribbon” panel of epidemiologists and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (November 2009) reports: “The evidence of human carcinogenicity of styrene is inconsistent and weak. On the basis of the available evidence, one cannot conclude that there is a causal relationship between styrene and any type of human cancer.”

    Priscilla Briones for the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), Arlington, Virginia. SIRC ( is a trade association representing interests of the North American styrene industry with its mission being the collection, development, analysis and communication of pertinent information on styrene.

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    • matt picio December 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

      That doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. A year ago, it was very difficult to find any regulatory agencies warning against Bisphenol-A, even though it is a synthetic estrogen and has the capacity to bind to the same receptors. Now, there is plenty of outcry over it.

      Also, your statement is somewhat disingenuous. While styrene is not a known carcinogen, the International Agency for Research on Cancer suspects it may be:

      and the EPA is currently evaluating it.

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  • Barb December 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

    This is nothing new. I’ve ridden by this spot since it was initially built amny yrs ago it’s always been strong & I’ve always wondered if & why nothing is being done or reported about it. It’s just taken this many yrs for enough people to know, care about , & do something about it.
    It’s not just like” dairy air”.

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  • Loren December 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

    The part of the story I’m curious about is if the DEQ showed up when the factory was actually emitting it’s peak level of styrene into the air.

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  • matt picio December 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Just because something wasn’t considered a toxin in the past does not make said emissions any less harmful to the local community

    I never said otherwise – I only said that the conditions of the business warrant more than a “one-size-fits-all” fine the polluter mentality. It’s very easy, especially in the Pacific NW, to presume that the company pollutes, that it’s harming people, and that the owners are evil folks. This frequently is not the case.

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  • q`Tzal December 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    matt picio
    I never said otherwise – I only said that the conditions of the business warrant more than a “one-size-fits-all” fine the polluter mentality. It’s very easy, especially in the Pacific NW, to presume that the company pollutes, that it’s harming people, and that the owners are evil folks. This frequently is not the case.

    When this business, and others in similar situations, initially established themselves they almost certainly did not believe that what they were doing was harming the community.
    As science had progressed we can easily see that certain chemicals that were previously believed harmless are toxic.
    Also, it has become apparent that chronic exposures to <LD50 doses can indeed be harmful to the general population and that certain segments of the population will be highly sensitive at much lower doses.

    Most people have a reaction to poison ivy; avoidance is easy.
    It's not uncommon for a person to be allergic to bees: avoiding bees is possible but requires effort and awareness.
    Gluten and soy allergies are much more maligned: the allergens in question cause wide ranges of symptoms and can be difficult if not impossible to avoid in common manufactured food products. This has led some to believe that the problem does not exist: it's all in their heads.

    Urban density has increased everywhere inside the UGB. Residential uses now abut areas that no one planned for. Businesses are now finding what was once acceptable emission levels; due to sparse density, misunderstood science or simply unavoidable changes to manufacturing processes; are no longer allowed or accepted by neighboring communities.

    It is not the fault of urban planners for not knowing that science would change and that an area would be unacceptable for residential use some in the future after the area is already occupied.
    It is not the fault of the people that moved in to the area: without accepted peer-reviewed scientific knowledge of pre-existing toxin no common knowledge will leak down to the general public.
    Last of all: it is not the fault of the businesses who have not changed a single thing about how they have been doing their work but now find themselves in not in compliance.

    The simple matter is that there is a problem now. It can not be resolved by fines. It will be solved by stopping the source of the pollutant (changing process, relocate business) or with emission controls that either remove or neutralize the toxin in the exhaust stream.

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  • Red Five December 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Let’s make sure we close these places down without knowing the facts, and put many people out of work in a city that already has very little to offer the unemployed.

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    • q`Tzal December 2, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Yup, as long as a company is employing people they should be allowed to dump what ever, where ever and how ever much they want.
      No exceptions.

      Corporations > the individual citizens
      Profit > life
      Profit > health
      Profit > safety

      There are facts that show that there are emission related health problems being here.
      Closing down these offending companies is not the only solution.
      When, however, the facts are presented these companies and they refuse to be good neighbors and their only excuse is profit then legal action is warranted.
      You start small with fines but when all other legal avenues of compromise are exhausted because the company has dug in it’s heels for the sake of profit above all else that company should be shut down.

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      • resopmok December 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

        If official avenues aren’t working because they’re all in bed with the industry, it’s time to hire a lawyer and file a civil suit. It’s the American way, and it will effect their bottom line and get their attention. I don’t think all legal channels have been exhausted yet, though.

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        • q`Tzal December 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

          I’m not even talking government and regulatory corruption.
          I’m speaking about the businessman who believes that he is doing nothing wrong. He states with all innocence that “If my company has to change our long standing processes to comply with recent changes in environmental regulations I won’t be able to make a profit; I’ll have to close my business.”

          Individuals get help with government programs, surely there are programs to help these companies install or upgrade their emission control measures. (unfounded supposition/”needs citation”)

          And while “Kill all the Lawyers” can be a pleasing sentiment the rule of law is preferable to the alternatives that the human race has come up with so far.

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          • resopmok December 2, 2010 at 11:48 pm

            It’s not really relevant whether you like hiring lawyers or not: it’s the way this country operates. If the business refuses to respond and the government won’t step in (for whatever reason), it’s the legal channel our constitution provides for dealing with each other in a civil manner (uncivil would be, e.g., shooting the owners and/or burning down the business). In some cases, and perhaps even this one, just the threat of a lawsuit is enough to get action. Like it or not, our world has been based on currency exchanges for a good few hundred years now, and pretty much anything can be reduced to a question of how much it costs. If the people behind this story are serious about seeing real action on this issue, they will need to hire a lawyer. My ideals, your ideals, and everyone else’s ideals about what our government, business and each other should or shouldn’t do about the environment make little difference. Money talks and bull@$#% walks. The only way you will get the business to respond is by threatening to cost them a lot of money if they don’t.

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  • mykle December 1, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Surely people would not suggest shutting down a company because someone does not like how it smells …

    Surely they would. If we don’t investigate the evidence our senses provide us, what else do we have to go on? A foul smell is air pollution by definition. Probably the entire history of air pollution mitigation has been driven by smells.

    But keep in mind that nobody is talking about shutting them down. Neighbors are just asking them to quit releasing poisonous industrial waste into the public oxygen supply.

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  • jim December 2, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I would sugest a waterfall filtering exhaust system. Not that I know just how bad it is. I have had people leave work and go home from the fumes from latex paint before. I can imagine the smell from this place could be rather nausiating.

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  • RWL1776 December 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Everyone look at their own bike and any other maunfactured item they own. Where did that iron ore come from to make your fancy steel frame? It didn’t just appear at the bikeshop in a stroke of magic. A rather large earth moving machine, bigger than your house, powered by fossil fuels had to dig it out of the earth. Another machine hauled that load of ore to the steel manufacturing facility, where tremendous amounts of electrical power is used to create the steel ingots. That in turn is formed into tubes. Those tubes are then transported by truck to a frame builder. Notice a trend here? Fossil fuels are used to create your trusty rusty steed.

    Does everyone riding a bike really think they are holier than thou because they ride a bike? Pollution was created to make that frame, the tires, the wheels, all the parts, and even the ashphalt you ride on!

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    • rigormrtis December 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      I love it when I hear some hipster going on about how his bike is “zero carbon”…..

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  • wsbob December 2, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    howie November 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

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  • wsbob December 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Well, I messed up there. Oh well, one more time:

    Red Five and RWL1776, did you read howie’s comment posted above at November 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm?

    Doesn’t seem as though anyone commenting to this thread is assuming a superior stance or is wanting to put this company out of business. Businesses having to deal with disagreeable and potentially, if not certainly hazardous emissions resulting from their production process is a reality of being located within a densely populated area.

    At what point does anxiety over possible loss of jobs and inability for companies to stay in business become more important than attempting to arrive at a means to help a business clean up its act? McClure Industries would be wise to at least demonstrate it’s receptive to making an honest effort to reduce as much as reasonably possible, the emissions and disagreeable odors emanating from its operations.

    Maus’s story noted that the DEQ meeting with McClure was yesterday. Kind of hoped someone would have posted some report about the discussion by now.

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  • Sheila December 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    The hearing was a couple hours long. About 15 people spoke. Many more in attendance.

    There were a couple little articles on it:

    Clackamas Review says they’re doing a follow up this week.

    DEQ is accepting pubic comments through 12/20 — they extended it from the original 12/6 date. Email Kathy Amidon at or call her at 503-667-8414 ext. 55010.

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  • Rich December 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Notice to Concerned Neighbors:
    During the last week of March 2010 McClure Industries, working to a DEQ schedule made significant changes in our odor abatement program. In order to determine the effectiveness of these changes, 2010 data should be used. We feel the 2010 data and the confirmation by neighbors that the 2010 changes have substantially lowered our odor emissions.

    Thank you for your patience,
    McClure Industries, Inc.

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  • wsbob December 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    “… We feel the 2010 data and the confirmation by neighbors that the 2010 changes have substantially lowered our odor emissions.

    Thank you for your patience,
    McClure Industries, Inc. ” Rich December 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Rich…thanks for responding to readers here at bikeportland. Could you possibly clarify that last statement in your comment? It doesn’t seem to make sense. Maybe it’s a grammatical error?

    Sounds as though you’re attempting to say that…2010 data collected following neighbor complaints, DEQ review, and changes to your odor abatement program accomplished a reduction in the presence of odor resulting from your company’s operations, a reduction which you say neighbors have confirmed.

    Is this so? Since your company made the changes to your odor abatement program, have neighbors really been saying something to the effect of ‘Your company’s efforts have made the smell less bad than it was?’.

    I’m wondering just how recently they’ve said that, because as you may have noticed, one of those neighbors, a Mr. Oakes, as mentioned in the bikeportland story above, doesn’t seem to note any such reductions in odor on the part of your company.

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    • Rich December 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm


      All I can comment on right now is between July 1st. and July 29th. we have statements from two of the neighbors including Mr. Oakes that the smell is better now, than it was two years ago.

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      • wsbob December 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

        Rich…thanks for offering that. That’s just a 30 day period, but if the rate of emissions is consistent month to month, that should do.

        So my next questions probably would be to Howie Oakes. He’s quoted in this story and apparently is the Howie that has commented to this thread at ‘November 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm’.

        Howie…would you agree with what Rich said about you and a couple neighbors finding the company’s plant operations smell to be better than it was two years ago?

        If it’s better, how much better is it, and how much better do you hope and expect it could be with the resources McClure Industries has available to the company to reduce the smell further?

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        • howie December 8, 2010 at 4:36 pm

          I as well as my other neighbors do not feel that McClure has “substantially lowered (their) odor emissions”, and have not stated that.

          I was asked if we had noticed the smell decreasing after McClure installed more powerful exhaust fans. At the time (march, I believe) I said that I was not noticing it as much, but that was normal for that time of year, and that summer was when we had the strongest smells.

          Part of our issue is that DEQ did their odor surveys during this time when we specifically told them that they would not really be accurate, as the odor is noticeably stronger in the summer. I would rate this summer just as bad as it has been in the past.

          As far as other things that could be done to reduce our exposure to this, there are a number of options available: low-styrene resins, No-styrene resins, odor absorbing mists and carbon filtration could be investigated. Odor complaints are a common problem with fiberglass facilities nation-wide, and the industry has solutions.

          The situation now is that styrene is being directly vented with no filtration whatsoever. McClure was hoping that by installing more powerful fans, that the emissions would be blown higher, bypassing the affected residents. This does not seem to be the case.

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          • wsbob December 9, 2010 at 1:45 am

            Howie …take a look at Rich’s comment. He said:

            “… between July 1st. and July 29th. we have statements from two of the neighbors including Mr. Oakes that the smell is better now, than it was two years ago.”

            Sounds like he’s saying the neighbors comments he has refer to the degree of smell in summer, not March. Maybe somebody is confused.

            More powerful fans sometimes mean louder noise. Hope that hasn’t become a problem.

            In bikeportland stories, or comments to them, either this one or future ones, it would be welcome to hear in some detail from Rich about whether any of the fiberglass industry emission reduction measures you mentioned have been investigated by McClure Industries, and what the company may be looking at to incorporate them into its operational system.

            Everything costs a lot of money these days. This is common knowledge. What specifically, it would take for McClure Industries to actually get its emissions cleaned up for the neighborhood it belongs to, is something a lot of people would probably like to learn about.

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          • q`Tzal December 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

            Hmm …. testing at a time advantageous to the business, not sampling orignal complaintants nor enough to have a real sample.
            Someome how this does not seem scientific or honest.

            Nothing to see here, move along.

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          • resopmok December 10, 2010 at 1:51 am

            It’s obvious enough there’s an impasse between some neighborhood residents and McClure. On the one side, a business faces a decision about spending money on equipment that will really reduce the smell problem the styrene causes. It was noted in the comments somewhere that styrene is particularly odiferous even in small concentrations, so I imagine the process of eliminating it from the air is difficult. How much money does this equipment cost? I don’t know what kind of profit margins McClure runs on, but there’s probably valid reasoning in the idea that, from a business perspective, it costs enough money to install the equipment that it leaves them in the red even if they don’t go broke. ITTET, being in the red more than you need to be is simply one step closer to failing completely as a business. I don’t think anybody wants to see this happen.

            On the other hand, we have a neighborhood of residents some or many of which are families with children whose lives are stressed day in and day out by the disagreeable smell of styrene. They have no real refuge from it, and can’t even open the windows of their houses during the summer. It is likely that at least a few of the residents have owned their property longer than McClure has been in business, leaving this smell as an imposition placed on them. Other residents may have known about the smell before buying their properties, but many things about a real estate transaction can be deceiving. Perhaps they viewed the property at times when the smell was minimal or non-existent, only to realize their serious blunder on the day they moved in.

            Who really is the devil here, the stubborn residents or the stubborn business? The smell is certainly a quality of life issue, but it doesn’t sound like it is a public health issue (though this question is still under investigation). Given the system we live in, there is a venue available to sort it out: the courts. Someone will have to spend money to make things change; the only question is how much it will cost. I bet if residents pooled their money and offered to pay at least part of the cost of upgrades it would take to make a real difference, it would cost a lot less for both parties than getting lawyers involved. This would probably require real dialogue through a venue outside this forum.

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  • wsbob December 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    “… I bet if residents pooled their money and offered to pay at least part of the cost of upgrades it would take to make a real difference, …” resopmok

    Just the value of such a gesture alone might be worth a lot in terms of persuading McClure that the neighbors will towards the company is good. The company feeling that way could help it to move things along in a direction that would be positive for everyone.

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