Portland Green Festival 2016, Dec. 11

hayhurstPlease share!! Thank you.

I’m speaking this Sunday (December 11th) in the afternoon at 3:30 at the Portland Green Festival. (Admission to the Festival is FREE at the Oregon Convention Center, Saturday: 10am – 6pm; Sunday: 10am – 5pm!)

Join me for an open dialogue [in a “neutral space” (not hosted or influenced by the City of Portland or Portland Public Schools!)] about childhood lead poisoning in our homes and schools! We will focus the Q & A on lead-in-schools and the impact on our city’s children. Here’s the speaker schedule:


Below (and pictured) is just one of endless illustrative anecdotes/examples (this one very personal!) of the pervasive/endemic problem of systemic ignorance regarding lead hazards in our aging infrastructure – including our children’s schools, daycares and other facilities:

Pictured below is badly deteriorating, peeling/chipping lead paint in the windows of the kindergarten special needs classroom at Portland Oregon’s Hayhurst Elementary School — ***AFTER*** the school district said they had “finished remediating the hazards there”!

The facilities team (led by Courtney Wilton, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Portland Public Schools ) invited me to the school to evaluate the “completed work” they did (so I could determine if it would be safe for my child to finally attend his assigned school this year) & I found this hazard within seconds of walking in to the classroom.

This photo was taken on November 9th and (as of today, December 10th) the school district has yet to get back to me about next steps / what they intend to do, given this work was done (and clearance testing was done) by “3rd party, independent contractors” hired by the district to take care of this problem – yet I [merely a mom whose kid has been assigned to the school ;-)] nearly instantly upon stepping into the classroom found peeling/chipping exposed lead paint in the areas they were supposed to have remediated (“the window sills and troughs throughout the school.”)

Not only did I find peeling/chipping lead paint in this location, but if you look carefully at the photo you can see chips and dust on the trough and window sill  – really clearly indicating that this area (which tested positive for lead in the 15,000 to 20,000 micrograms per square foot range with the initial round of testing, when a level of 400 is considered a hazard in window troughs) had likely not even been CLEANED — let alone thoroughly remediated to HUD or EPA standards (standards intended for child occupied facilities – which this room clearly – under any interpretation – is, as it is a classroom for kindergarteners.)

I explained to the two “team members” who I met with that I was an ally and wanted to help get these hazards taken care of – but that we needed to work together to get to the bottom of this, in order to make a difference in these kind of [horrendously inadequate/incomplete/botched] outcomes. I specifically asked the people that I met with (David Hobbs, Senior Director of Facilities & Asset Management for Portland Public Schools and the Hayhurst school principal) to look into and get me the answers to the following questions:

• Who did the work?
• Who did the clearance testing?
• Using what conceivable metric could they (PPS) say / assert / declare to the parents of the school and the community that the window sills in this classroom (as an example of what was done around the entire school) passed clearance testing—when it should not even have passed a VISUAL inspection by a trained and certified hazard assessor? [You can clearly still see peeling chipping lead paint on the friction surface of the window sill and it doesn’t even look like it was TOUCHED — let alone fully remediated so it could possibly pass a proper clearance testing.]

• Who is responsible for this “oversight”? (Who oversaw and approved the work and noted it as complete?)
David looked at me sort of blankly, and said he would look into it and get back to me with an e-mail. I have received no response… a month later… not a single response of any kind from anyone, and my special needs son is still not yet in a safe and appropriate school this year (not in school at all actually.)

Please know, this is not a problem restricted to Portland, this is a problem across our country. To date, no regulations, standards or protocols for oversight for the remediation of existing (as distinct from newly-created) toxicity hazards in public schools and daycares exist in this country today. If we want our children protected in an environment where many of them spend most of their time, this needs to change and it will take a groundswell of public awareness to force this change. Join the conversation. Thank you.

Tamara Rubin​
Portland Parent of Four Boys
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
Environmental Activist / Filmmaker
My site: http://www.TamaraRubin.com

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