SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND SAFETY IN

PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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June 14, 2001 Hearing Room B

8:30 AMÝÝÝÝÝÝ TapesÝ 1-4

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MEMBERS PRESENT:ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Sen. Margaret Carter Co-Chair

ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Sen. Charles Starr, Co- Chair

Sen.Ý Ginny Burdick

Sen. Bev Clarno

Sen. Peter Courtney

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Sen. Ted Ferrioli

Sen. Avel Gordly

ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Sen. Tom Hartung

ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Sen. John Minnis

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MEMBER EXCUSED: ÝÝÝ

STAFF PRESENT:ÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Jan McComb, Committee Administrator

Paula Merritt, Committee Assistant

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MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Public Hearing

ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Radon Overview:Ý What it is, Occurrence, Health Risk

ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.Ý Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speakerís exact words.Ý For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

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TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 1, A

003

Co-Chair Carter

Calls committee to order at 8:30 a.m. and opens a public hearing on radon.Ý

RADON OVERVIEWÝ PUBLIC HEARING

005

Co-Chair Carter

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT A) andÝ explains the agenda and speakers here today.

030

John D. Beaulieu

State Geologist, Oregon Department of Geology.Ý Submits and presents written testimony (EXHIBIT B).Ý Explains radon measurement and movement into structures and explains that readings are lower in the winter than in summer.Ý Refers to map included in exhibit B.Ý Says there are 13 counties in the state where readings are greater than should be in 10% of residences.Ý

159

Sen. Clarno

Comments on building construction materials.

160

Beaulieu

Responds that it is not what the building is made of but more about how the building is a conduit regarding air and air flow.Ý

165

Rep. Clarno

Asks Beaullieu if schools should be built with cememt or concrete.Ý

170

Beaulieu

Responds that he would like for the Health Division to answer.

180

Sen. Courtney

Comments on the 13 counties that are at risk.

189

Beaulieu

Clarifies that 10% of tested houses are at risk.

205

Sen. Starr

Comments on evacuation at high levels and what are the statistics.

209

Beaulieu

Responds that he does not know the statistics but the Health Division does.

211

Sen. Carter

Comments on the West Salem and Portland School Districts.

220

Beaulieu

Explains the higher uranium in sand materials and says that Oregon is a moderate to low radon state.

255

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about the new information on indoor air quality.Ý

260

Beaulieu

Responds that this is true and explains reduction of radon with proper ventilation.

289

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments that the problem solving can be made by physical plant.

293

Beaulieu

Agrees that building construction is far greater than radon and building management is the most important.

318

Sen. Hartung

Comments on seismic refitting of schools.

337

Thomas Johnson

Administrator, Oregon Health Division.Ý Submits and presents written testimony (EXHIBIT C).Ý Gives overview of radon.Ý Describes the measurements for concern inside of a building and evacuation levels.

TAPE 2, A

003

Sen. Courtney

Asks about standards and administrative rules or laws for construction of new homes and buildings.

005

Johnson

ÝRefers the question to the Building Code Division.

010

Sen. Courtney

Asks about animal reactions to radon.

020

Johnson

Responds that he does not know.

067

Terry Lindsey

Manager, Radioactive Materials Licensing Program.Ý Submits and presents written reports (EXHIBIT D) on state radon levels. Suggests testing on a regular basis.Ý Explains the EPA University Programs for contractor training.Ý

040

Co-Chair Carter

Asks if Oregon follows protocol.

044

Lindsey

Responds yes.Ý Explains the EPA testing that is done.Ý

050

Peggy Collins

State Building Official.Ý Explains building codes for construction of new buildings and explains that these standards are not in place for existing buildings.Ý States that in the late 1980's there was more emphasis placed on radon standards and again updated in 1996.

070

Co-Chair Carter

Asks if all buildings are in compliance.

072

Collins

Responds no; not buildings built after the requirements were set.

077

Co-Chair Carter

Asks what the state's role is for seeing everyone is in compliance

078

Collins

Responds that there is no role for doing this except through education.

079

Co-Chair Carter

Asks who is responsible for the older buildings.

083

Collins

Responds the owner of the building.

221

Johnson

Adds, through education and information.

223

Co-Chair Carter

Comments on assuring parents of compliance.

230

Johnson

Responds by PTA meetings and discussions.

250

Collins

Explains that construction will be regulated but not older ones.

267

Lynn Penwell

Parent, Coalition to Keep Whitaker Safe.Ý Presents testimony and explains the safety of their children and the need for requirements.

323

Jackie Wallace

Parent, Coalition to Keep Whitaker Safe.Ý Presents testimony and explains the risk to children in schools.

TAPE 1, B

002

Sen. Gordly

Comments on Co-Chair Carterís leadership of this committee.Ý Asks Wallace for her report. Asks about the options given to her by the school.

020

Wallace

Responds that they were not given options except to remove the child from the school.Ý

030

Sen. Gordly

Asks if her child is now at Whitaker.

040

Wallace

Responds, no. Continues with presentation and requirements she would like.

050

Sen. Gordly

Comments on the cancellation of summer school at Whitaker School and asks if her child will attend Gregory Heights for summer school.

059

Penwell

Replies that her son is in special education and she will not send him back to any Portland Public Middle School.

076

Sen. Courtney

Asks when Penwell first learned about radon.

079

Penwell

Responds, from her Father in the 1990's and explains that they had their house tested in 1993.Ý

088

Sen. Courtney

Asks Penwell when her concern began with the school.

090

Penwell

Responds, with the article in the paper on May 23rd.

093

Sen. Courtney

Asks the same of Wallace.

097

Wallace

Responds, May 2001.

100

Chair Carter

ÝAsks Wallace about her security level after listening to the state geologist.

130

Wallace

Responds that she does not feel secure because she doesn't know the amounts of exposure.

139

Jim Scherzinger

Chief Financial Officer, Portland School District. Submits and presents written testimony and various reports (EXHIBIT E).Ý Explains the discussions held after levels of radon were taken and the closure of the schools.

148

Co-Chair Carter

Asks about steps taken and community concerns.

150

Scherzinger

Explains his feelings on the closing of the schools and the steps that were taken.Ý Explains Whitaker School's complex ventilation problems.

160

Sen. Courtney

Asks if he has heard about radon in public schools.

166

Scherzinger

Responds that he had not before the newspaper articles.Ý

240

Sen. Gordly

Asks if indoor air quality testing had been done and what were the results.Ý Asks about the community's concern with these particular problems in Whitaker;Ý soil, atrium, air circulation wells, tunnel system, a mildew spot in G-107 and a bad roof leak in the ceiling.

250

Scherzinger

Refers the question to Pamela Brown.

290

Pamela Brown

Director of Facilities.Ý Explains the times that testing was performed, explains that in 1991 there was short-term testing and long term testing in 1992 consistent with standards.Ý Refers to exhibit reports.Ý Explains that the atrium was not tested until this year, the wells have not been tested or ordered to be tested, the atrium soil has not been tested, the air test result was 0.3, the tunnel system has a report from 1997 where it was tested at .2 when fans were off and 6-8 when fans were on.Ý Explains that the mildew spot has not been tested, the area around the roof leak has not been tested, and the latest indoor air was 950 in February.

350

Sen. Gordly

Comments on complaints about asthma and headaches, etc. and asks if they have checked the clinic's records.

425

Brown

Responds that they have not.

440

Scherzsinger

Explains the five-step plan he has planned for the summer and the committee he has formed.

TAPE 2, B

003

Sen. Gordly

Comments on parental involved on the committee.

005

Tom Picket

Incoming Principal, Whitaker.Ý Responds that the committee will have three parents.Ý Explains that there is a public forum planned with committee members, staff, ESL teachers and a parent from the Latino committee.Ý

032

Sen. Starr

Comments on roof leaks not being harmful.Ý

040

Co-Chair Carter

Asks Scherzinger how parents with children out of school can be helped.

050

Scherzinger

Responds that this was the biggest concern he had when deciding to close the schools.

060

Co-Chair Carter

Comments on the state being responsible for this issue.

067

Sen. Clarno

Offers her assistance this summer to this issue.

080

Sen. Ferrioli

Echoes comments of Sen. Carter.Ý

191

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Richard Garrett

Portland Association of Teachers.Ý Submits and presents written testimony (EXHIBIT F).ÝÝ Explains the situation at Whitaker School and the problems he had with administrators and district officials with the seriousness of the radon problem.Ý Comments on OSHA's lack of responsibility and their suggestion to refer this issue to another agency.

230

Sen. Minnis

Asks about a conflict of interest.

250

Garrett

Responds that employees and representatives are entitled to have OHSA enforce standards.Ý

267

Sen. Minnis

Questions the responsible entity for this issue.

276

Co-Chair Carter

Comments on OSHA's work on behalf of all employees.

285

Garrett

Explains OSHA's referral to the Oregon Health Division.Ý

343

Carol Ingersol Palumbo

Teacher, Gregory Heights Middle School.Ý Explains that it was 5/23 when she heard about the school closure and explains that her first knowledge of radon was in the 1990's.Ý Describes her increased asthma.Ý Describes radon testing performed in limited areas only and explains that the Safety Committee had no knowledge of the final report.

TAPE 3, A

003

Sen. Gordley

Asks Palumbo if the report was requested.

050

Palumbo

Responds yes but did not receive.Ý Explains summer school sites in the Gregory Heights facility.Ý

067

Co-Chair Carter

Asks Lindsey what the results would be if radon were mixed with other gases.

080

Co-Chair Carter

Reiterates that Scherzinger is director of finance and is not that knowledgeable with this scientific subject.

100

Lindsey

Explains that lung cancer is the only known result from radon and that radon does not interact with anything and that carbon dioxide is an indicator of an air ventilation quality.

123

Sen. Minnis

Asks Lindsey what entity is responsible and is anyone addressing these concerns.

158

Lindsey

Responds that EPA protocols are being followed.

166

Sen. Minnis

Reads statute and comments on the responsible entity.

181

Patricia Sullivan

Public Relations, Portland Public Schools.Ý Explains her past work with OSHA and explains the federal program.Ý Explains that OSHA has jurisdiction over all safety and health issues of employees.

199

Johnson

Explains that they do not have programs for radon and are not responsible for programs they do not have.

200

Sen. Minnis

Comments on OSHA being involved in this meeting today and their responsibility.

249

Co-Chair Carter

Concurs.

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Johnson

Explains that they provide public information for anyone who requests it.

256

Co-Chair Carter

AsksÝ Lindsey why Garretís letter was not answered

260

Lindsey

Responds that he was not directly requested to answer and he apologizes if he missed a call.

270

Sullivan

Suggests that OSHA be here.Ý

281

Co-Chair Carter

Comments on Palumboís testimony and Portland Public Schools should not be answering to this problem alone and suggests that someone is dropping the ball.Ý Believes OSHA and Department of Consumer and Business Services be involved and this is a complicated problem.Ý Believes this issue requires a longer period of time to resolve and should be investigated further.

323`

Sen. Courtney

Comments on the age of public school buildings and the problems that could arise.

343

Sen. Minnis

Comments on the committee and the meetings involved.

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Co-Chair Carter

Suggests asking for another meeting.

374

Suzanne Larson

Parent. Presents testimony. Explains her daughterís experience while attending Whitaker School with her taxed immune system.

TAPE 4, A

003

Larson

Reads from testimony.Ý

005

Susan Walenza

Teacher, Whitaker School. Submits and presents written testimony (EXHIBIT G). Explains the tests that were done the high radon level results and how Willamette Week received a record of her testing. Speaks to the importance of ventilation.Ý

078

Sen. Minnis

Asks Scherzinger about functioning of workplace testing.

080

Scherzinger

Responds that he was not aware of this.

090

Sen. Minnis

Comments on hazardous substance statutes and is unsure if they apply.

099

Ann Schneider

Counselor, Whitaker School.Ý Submits and presents written testimony (EXHIBIT H) and explains illnesses she had while working in her office in the school over the years.Ý Comments on testing at Whitaker and that her tests showed levels of 19.Ý

148

Sen. Minnis

Asks if anyone filed a complaint.

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Schneider

Believes that other school district employees wanted to be present today but had to attend work.Ý

167

Suzanne Larson

Parent of Whitaker School student.Ý Presents testimony explaining her childís health symptoms and time absent from school due to illness.

229

Sen. Minnis

Requests other meetings with knowledgeable agencies.

242

Sen. Gordly

Thanks parents for their testimony.

266

Co-Chair Carter

Assures parents that this will not be the last meeting on the radon subject and adjourns committee at 11:20 a.m.

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Submitted By,ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Reviewed By,

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Paula Merritt,ÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Jan McComb

Committee AssistantÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝÝ Committee Administrator

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EXHIBIT SUMMARY

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A - Public Testimony, written testimony, Sen. Margaret Carter,Ý 5 pp.

B ñ Invited Testimony, written testimony and various reports, Dr. John Beaulieu, 14 pp.

C -Ý Invited Testimony, written testimony, Thomas Johnson, 2 pp.

D -Ý Invited Testimony, written testimony, Terry Lindsey, 2 pp.

E -Ý Invited Testimony, written testimony and various reports, Jim Scherzinger, 22 pp.

F - Invited Testimony, written testimony, Richard Garrett, 4 pp.

G - Public Testimony, written testimony, Susan Walenza, 1 page

H - Public Testimony, written testimony, Ann Schneider, 2 pp.