As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolBullseye Glass Update
You may recall that last February we reported that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did some crazy scientific sh*t and found really high levels of cadmium and arsenic in moss… then the air… and then the air in Portland. That air happened to surround internationally renowned art glass maker Bullseye. You may also recall that I offered up a really great metaphor for the increase in risk of getting cancer from breathing in said air, and that it had to do with being force-fed 10,000 burritos. It was awesome. But I’m not here to tell you about burritos, or recap Bullseye’s defense… or even tell you about that guy Dick that resigned from the DEQ. Nope… I’m here to ramble on way too long in my lead, and then give you an update on the situation, as per the headline up there.

So. Last week a cease and desist order was lobbed from Governor Kate Brown’s office and through a window at Bullseye. Why now, you ask? The DEQ was doing some more testing recently and found toxic amounts of lead in the air near a daycare. The order itself stops Bullseye from using a number of different compounds in any furnace that is “uncontrolled,” which basically means any furnace that doesn’t have a baghouse… which means, like, any furnace that doesn’t have a thingy that captures bad stuff. Bullseye has one baghouse at the moment and is constructing others for future bad stuff stoppage.

As of now, Bullseye’s business has lost about 80% of their production. And while they’ve been compliant every step of the way, there is some disagreement between them and the DEQ, undoubtedly exacerbated by the fact that both groups are facing growing public scrutiny. For example, Bullseye claims that DEQ has no way to be 100% certain that they were the source of the lead, while DEQ says that they were making white glass during the testing period, which uses lead. Additionally, Bullseye has criticized the DEQ for failing to keep them in the loop regarding the lead tests until just moments before issuing a public statement. While the DEQ claims they were just following procedure for a speedy resolution, Bullseye has said that they would have stopped production immediately.

Another issue of contention is that some items on the banned list have not shown up in emissions tests simply because they were pegged as possibly dangerous. The list goes on. Point being: ugh.

Nobody wants poisoned air and nobody wants to see iconic Bullseye go under. It seems like the path ahead will be fairly clear once those with their heads up their backsides remove them.

As a side note, the DEQ is also going after electroplating company Blount International, Inc. for chromium emissions violations. I guess if you’re in Portland, don’t breathe?

Portland Updates, Whee
As it turns out, the estimated cost of rebuilding three Portland schools is a whopping $600 million. It is at times like this that we must ask ourselves… are these kids really worth it? I mean, not to whip out the burrito thing again, but there are about 319 million people in this country. Accounting for what I would imagine would be a fair bulk discount, telling those three schools to go to hell would net every man, woman, and child in this country TWO burritos. Two of them.

In other news, Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea pulled a wicked Dick Cheney and shot his friend while hunting in now-infamous Harney County. The friend is alright, and I’m sure totally fine with the term that’s being bandied about: “negligent discharge.” Remind me of that the next time I get drunk and start trying to form another punk band.

Cormorants Abandon Ship
People seem to really love salmon, but we also love a good mystery. You know those river-dwelling cormorants we killerize every year? It turns out that as many as 16,000 of them have quite literally flown the coop (I’ve always wanted to say that), leaving their eggs, record collections, and fine Turkish rugs behind. Scientific types are totally stumped, but I have this crazy feeling that maybe they just said %$@! this and ran away. After all, we keep dumping oil on them, firing off lasers, etc. But hey, I’m no expert. So let’s take a look at a quote from an Oregon Public Broadcasting article on the topic.

“The birds’ mysterious departure comes after the latest wave of government-sanctioned cormorant shooting.”

Looks like a slam dunk for my theory, but nope. Experty kinds of folks were interviewed and they’re claiming that there was a “disturbance” of some sort. But… I just…

Nevermind. I give up. I’m done.

By Johnny Beaver