The Letter.

I write today because I know there is a possibility you will begin using toxic metals in your production process again before installing filtration systems.  If this is true, if you will again use arsenic, cadmium, or chromium, the elements you suspended for health concerns, then you are willingly and knowledgeably poisoning my child and many others who attend the CCLC childcare center. You are willingly and knowledgeably poising my home, my neighbor’s homes, and countless other family’s homes.  You do this knowing the levels you are spewing from your furnaces are dangerous. Despite the fact that it fits into the grossly negligent permit given to you by DEQ, you know.

I was quoted on the news last night saying I didn’t want you to go out of business. It’s true. I support the arts. I support business. I support employees who need a paycheck and take pride in what they do.  I don’t want your company to go out of business. I want you to install systems that will allow you to work alongside your neighbors in a safe way. I want you to invest in systems that protect you as a business and protect the air my child breathes.

Don’t tell me it costs too much. Don’t tell me it would take time. Don’t tell me it’s difficult. None of those are valid responses. If you enter into an industry that deals with toxic elements you must be prepared to deal with the full cost and impact of those elements.

As I type this people are working to clean up this neighborhood. CCLC has taken steps to clean play areas for children, they are looking to remove dirt and grass and replace it with something new, something lacking toxic metals.  Neighbors have started replacing the dirt in their gardens; spring is just around the corner. If you were to start production without a proper filter again, those efforts are all for naught. You will have undone the hard and expensive work done to protect my child. Please don’t do this. Don’t endanger her more. I am already not sleeping, I can’t take more worry. This has disrupted our life in ways you can't imagine.

If you are not willing to halt production until the measures can be taken I’d like to invite you over to dinner, in my home. We can have a talk about the little playhouse that sits in the back corner of our yard, a spot for my two year old to play and grow her own flowers.  We can sit in the back yard and look at the decades old apple tree; producing apples that my dogs love to pull off the branch and eat. I can show you the rose bushes planted by the elderly couple who lived here before us. They had a large garden too. He died of lung cancer.  We can have a lovely meal, but it won’t come from my once thriving garden.  I wouldn’t want to poison you.

I know you are not the only polluter in Portland. I hear you accusing others. I see them too. My eyes are open now. I will write similar letters to them.  My urgency today is you though. You are willfully endangering my child, her development and overall health. You endanger my family pets that love us unconditionally and can’t be told not to go outside.  You endanger me, the caretaker of a family that needs me. You endanger countless others.  If you put those metals back into production, you do this knowing you are potentially harming people.  That is not being a good neighbor. That is not being a good human.

Just install the filters. Invest in your neighborhood. I think you’ll find that we’re a pretty friendly group when you aren’t actively poisoning us.


Erin Meeker
Mother, Wife, Daughter, Neighbor, Friend
SE 27th & Gladstone

Photo by Mark Colman

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