Portland, OR—Over the last few years, Southeast Portland residents have shared with me their concerns about healthy air quality in their neighborhoods.
Last night, our audit team and I held a town hall meeting at Creston Elementary School in Southeast Portland to update the community on our work on their behalf. Also attending were the DEQ administrator and manager. The purpose of the town hall meeting was to discuss Secretary of State audit findings in the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) audit report.
It was a cold and rainy evening, and those who weathered the storm listened attentively to the presentation and asked questions of the auditors and DEQ representatives. It was impressive to hear the DEQ's praise of the audit team's professionalism and that the DEQ agreed with all of the recommendations set forth in the audit report.
In response to advocacy by concerned neighbors, the findings in this audit, and recent actions by the Governor, the legislature passed important legislation this year to improve Oregon's air quality monitoring and regulatory program. The bipartisan changes were supported by environmental advocates and many businesses. Oregon will be healthier as a result.
Joe Nunn, a Portland retired educator and community leader, summarized the event for all in attendance when he said, “I am glad I came. With all the acrimony and contention I see on the news, it was refreshing to learn that the Secretary of State auditors and the agencies they audit are talking together, getting along, and working to make things work better in our state government.” Joe's right.