Regaining Our Green Edge: The Portland Mayoral Debate recap
Mounting concerns about the state’s handling of toxic air pushed Portland’s top mayoral candidates to blast state watchdogs Thursday and pledge better regulation.
On the local air quality issue: “The Oregon DEQ let us down,” Wheeler said. “The question is, is the [DEQ] going to step up and provide the enforcement, or does this region need to go on its own?” Iannarone stressed the importance of keeping locals informed. And Bailey commented that he has seen firsthand how industry affects the DEQ and regulations. “We’ve been a city that’s prided ourself on sustainability leadership and we’ve got to get back there,” Bailey said. “We have air toxins… we need a regional authority.”
Portland Tribune: No Trash Talk During Mayoral Environmental Debate
Iannarone wanted to “make sure that we’re listening to the community. That we are listening to what they want instead of what we think they need.” In response to a question about the recent air quality concerns beginning in Southeast Portland near where she lives, Iannarone asked: “Do we need a regional airshed monitoring group?” She suggested looking for citizen partnerships and ensuring the collection of data. Bailey championed his idea of a Portland-wide regional air quality authority in order to alleviate growing concerns over the city’s air quality and the lack of state intervention in diesel and small industrial fumes. Wheeler was direct. “Oregon DEQ let us down,” he said. “They are good people but when it came to sharing info, being transparent, they absolutely let us down.” He floated the idea of a penalty structure for local polluters: “It’s very important that we get this right. This is a matter of life or death.