Crematorium neighbors told to live with it

Crematorium neighbors told to live with it

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by Michael Benner, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 8:53 PM

PORTLAND --Neighbors packed a church meeting room Monday night to express their concerns about a crematorium in their backyard.

“It's been causing noise disturbances throughout the day and evening and some level of pollution,” said neighbor Ben Kerensa.

Gable Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services have been in the Montavilla neighborhood for decades. But four months ago new management started offering cremations. It didn’t take long for neighbors to notice what they believe to be pollutants escaping into the sky.

“It’s definitely disturbing,” said Kerensa. “We live in Oregon and we expect it to be a green state.”

The DEQ is working with the owners to reduce emissions, but even they acknowledge that won’t solve the problem completely.

“There are going to be emissions from it,” said a representative from the DEQ. “Operating in compliance with the permit doesn’t mean no pollutants from it and that does have an impact.”

Background: Crematorium near school riles neighbors

State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer thinks it may be time to ban crematoriums in residential neighborhoods and near schools.

“There is growing evidence that emissions out of crematoriums contain mercury and other types of toxics,” said Keny-Guyer. “To have children eight hours a day in a school near a crematorium is really horrible.”

Keny-Guyer cannot bring forth a bill in the next legislative session. Until she can, neighbors in Montavilla will police themselves.

“Try to stay away from the building in the hours it’s burning bodies,” said Kerensa.

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