"Two state agencies leading Oregon's emergency response to toxic air pollution concerns in Portland have known for a month that a soil test at Cleveland High School found high levels of arsenic and lead contamination.
Yet neither the Oregon Health Authority nor the Department of Environmental Quality have shared the soil result with Portland Public Schools, which instead learned about it Friday from The Oregonian/OregonLive. The sample at Cleveland tested at 36 times the state's safety guidelines for arsenic and 11 times the threshold for lead.
People who analyze soil samples for a living cautioned against drawing conclusions from a single test result. They advise collecting multiple samples and averaging the results.
But Brent Jorgensen, a Tualatin-based environmental consultant who regularly deals with contaminated sites, called the Cleveland numbers "alarmingly high." He said such a single test result would normally trigger an immediate response."