Clean Engines, Clean Air for Oregon

by Katie Young, Program Intern at OEC

Last week’s public hearing on SB 1008 Clean Engines, Clean Air Act at the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources was a great opportunity to hear from all Oregonians.

We heard important testimony from doctors, industry experts, and concerned parents from all over the state that addressed health concerns, vulnerable populations such as children and environmental justice communities, and industry responsibility to clean Oregon’s air.

As one person shared, the health risks of diesel particulate matter is no longer hypothetical. Diesel pollution is a public health issue that is long overdue.

Missed the hearing? You can watch & listen to the hearing online.


“[The physician] summed it up perfectly, ‘the only thing we should ever put into our lungs is clean, healthy air.'”
– Carrie Nyssen from American Lung Association in Oregon.

“I have a child that’s been affected by a disease that is associated with particulate matter. Not only [is diesel pollution] important to my company, but important to me personally.”
– Alan Sprott, VP of Environmental Affairs, from Vigor Industrial.

“Three reasons why [children] are particularly vulnerable. They are little and breathe a lot. Kids are like hummingbirds, they breathe a lot. Their lungs are small and a lot more of this stuff gets in there. [Cancer] is a long term disease, when you get exposed to a lot of stuff in your life and when exposed early in life, there are a lot more decades for those changes to your cells to occur that can lead to cancer. Early exposure leads to cancer later in life…We should be preventing diseases, not treating them.”
– Dr. Paul Lewis, a pediatrician, Tri-county health officer and Multnomah County health officer.

“I have seen people come in with severe respiratory distress. I’ve had to put breathing tubes down people’s lungs to help them ventilate and it’s a very scary thing to see. And we see it more and more. Children are especially vulnerable. Their lungs are still developing. They circulate more of these toxins and have a more significant effect.”
Sharon Meieran, Emergency Room doctor from Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas County and Multnomah County Commissioner District 1.

“My 11-year-old son was diagnosed with asthma when he was five. He’s had to deal with missed school days, visits to the emergency room, and countless visits to the pediatrician. Each time he experiences exacerbations with asthma he becomes very anxious and scared. I don’t know if anyone else in this room has dealt with asthma, but being unable to breathe is truly an awful experience. I can tell you that as a parent it is painful to watch your child to suffer like this. My child’s asthma has cost our family thousands of dollars out of pocket in medical care, not hundreds, thousands of dollars. This has also resulted in missed work days for both me and my husband, and my family is not alone in having this type of experiences.”
– Vivian Christiansen, a resident of Southeast Portland.

Finding a fix for Oregon has only begun. We want to ensure that diesel engines stop polluting our state and Oregonians breathe the clean air we all deserve. To stay engaged, sign up for our action alerts.

We can’t win this fight without you. Share your support to fix the oldest, dirtiest diesel engines by signing our petition. Because #welovecleanair and #itsyouroregon.

“We simply can’t wait any longer. The imperative to clean up dirty diesel is huge: To protect people’s health, to address environmental justice, and to combat climate change, Oregon needs to act on diesel this session,”
Chris Hagerbaumer, Deputy Director, Oregon Environmental Council.

New to this issue?

Get up to speed with our report on why Oregon must ditch diesel. Our findings and numerous health studies make it clear that Oregon will continue to pay a high price for diesel exhaust for decades – unless we take legislative action.

Check out our fact sheet on SB 1008, which proposes to: 

  • Stop the dumping of out-of-state dirty diesel engines into Oregon;
  • Set pollution standards for both on-road diesel fleets and off-road diesel engines; 
  • Accelerate the clean-up of off-road engines used in public contracts;
  • Allow local governments to implement their own idling ordinances.


Read our report, facts on the health impacts of diesel and more:  




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