Evacuations Lifted Near Scrapyard Fire

posted by Brad Ford - 

Authorities lifted all evacuation orders for N.E. Portland about 5 p.m. Tuesday, declaring “all clear’’ after repeated monitoring showed air quality had returned to healthy levels.

The removal came after shortly after the Portland Fire & Rescue announced that the smoldering fire at a salvage yard on Killingsworth has been “extinguished,’’ said Portland Fire Captain Louisa Jones.  

The five-alarm fire that started near the intersection of NE 75th Ave. and NE Killingsworth Street on Monday, March 12, caused schools, clinics and streets to close and forced evacuations of the neighbors. At least four residences, including a duplex and two single-family homes, were destroyed.

Portland Fire said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Paul Seidel, Acting Manager for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Northwest Region Clean Up said the agency will coordinate with Multnomah County and the Environmental Protection Agency on next steps.

“And we’ll be working with the owner on next steps including: possible waste management disposal, soil sampling, assessing water quality — and impacts to ground water quality,” Seidel said. “We won’t know what’s required, until we find out about the site”

The Environmental Protection Agency had been aggressively monitoring air quality since burning tires and salvaged vehicles sent a black plume of oily smoke over the area. EPA Randy Nattis, EPA on-scene coordinator,  said at 2 p.m. air monitoring and all the values were coming back down to typical air quality standards. After going through the community two times in a row, EPA telephoned the Jae Douglas, director of Environmental Health.

“We’re grateful for Portland Fire’s effective response and the EPA’s support in monitoring air around the site,’’ said Dr. Jae Douglas, director of Multnomah County Environmental Health.  They kept the evacuation to a day, and allowed neighbors to safely return home. ‘’

The county called for the evacuation of residents closest to the five-alarm fire — those living between 72nd and 76th Ave, from Killingsworth to Alberta streets.  More than 145 people and 15 pets stayed at a temporary shelter, opened Monday night by Multnomah County and the American Red Cross.

“We know that we had more than 140 people in the shelter last night,” said Dr. Jae Douglas, County Environmental Health Director.  “We are very grateful that the community responded and adhered to the evacuation request.”

The Red Cross is handing out clean up supplies of mops, buckets and other household items.  

Cleaning kits are available at the evacuation shelter 1415 SE 122nd Ave. For more tips and information: multco.us.

Source: Multnomah County

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