The Largest Pollution Settlement in Oregon History Was Made by Precision Castparts

Largest Pollution Settlement: Late in October, as a result of a pollution class action settlement, hundreds of people living in Inner Southeast Portland got money. Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) was sued for allegedly polluting a wide area around their facility, including the neighbourhoods of Brentwood-Darlington, Woodstock, Ardenwald, and Eastmoreland.

The Largest Pollution Settlement in Oregon History Was Made by Precision Castparts

Castparts settled the claim for $22.5 million, with each individual family receiving an average of $1,787. To make matters more perplexing, the Oregon DEQ was never able to determine whether or not any dangerous pollution had really been released, even though the company had improved its pollution control measures to the point where the DEQ would now approve its continued operations.

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Patti Clark, of Brentwood-Darlington, was “surprised by the amount,” after receiving a $2,100 cheque in the mail. Her initial surprise rapidly evolved into genuine worry. “When did they do that? Just what did we get our noses stuck into?” She had never been a part of a class action case that resulted in such a large settlement. “Usually, you’ll get a buck or two!”

It took settlement administrators until October 21 to mail the money to the plaintiffs, who are all residents of the Brentwood-Darlington area. Residents and their property were allegedly damaged by nickel and arsenic sprayed into the air from PCC’s metal casting operation. A map outlining the “Precision Plume,” as the alleged damage region is called, was included in the lawsuit papers.

Individuals residing inside the plume’s delineated area were offered the option to join the case. Before April of this year, they needed to enrol in order to be paid. Members of the class who had satisfied the deadline and residency requirements began receiving their payments in the mail in the month of October.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest environmental class action settlement in Oregon history,” stated Keller, Rohrback, and Preusch attorney Matthew Preusch. He admitted that “significant enhancements in emission controls” had been recently introduced by PCC.

The Largest Pollution Settlement in Oregon History
The Largest Pollution Settlement in Oregon History

The company, which has operations on S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, and makes metal components for the aerospace and power industries, rejected the claims but settled to avoid costly litigation.

On S.E. Westfork Street, next to the PCC building, is where Jen Procter Andrews makes her home. There are many factories in the region, and she often detected an industrial scent. She received a $2,100 settlement payout for her family of three but feels PCC is getting off too easy and not communicating enough with the community.

When other neighbours found out they weren’t qualified for the payouts, they were also taken aback. Stephanie Buxton, who lives in the Brentwood-Darlington neighbourhood, was frustrated to hear that the official limit of the plume stopped short of her house.

“In the event that my property has been damaged, and by extension, us and our health, I expect to be reimbursed appropriately. It’s a bit disheartening to realise that I won’t be able to “Her heart sank and she began to cry.

Some people who received payments were concerned about their long-term health, while others were concerned that the money wouldn’t be enough to deal with any medical emergencies that could arise. Clark spoke of a child in her neighbourhood who was diagnosed with an extremely uncommon form of brain cancer. “Why to wait until clusters of cancer cases to determine if it’s related [to the plant]? she pondered. The opposite of what you wish to occur.”

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The formula used by the settlement administrator to calculate these payouts took into account the identities of the property owners and occupants in the plume zone. So, occasionally people in the same neighbourhood got paid in different amounts on their checks. Visit www.structuralssettlement.com for a detailed analysis of the numbers and further information about the case.

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