The List You Don’t Want to Be On

Everybody loves lists—at least when the list ranks something positive. We can celebrate that Oregon ranks second for the most craft breweries per capita (Vermont eked out the top spot). And that Bend topped a list of best ski towns, while Portland ranked as the number one foodie city in the country. Nothing to dislike about eating, drinking, and skiing.

But recently, I was unpleasantly surprised to see Oregon show up on a less savory list. Bloomberg Environment published a map titled "The Next Newark?" showing ten cities that the article said have measured elevated lead levels above the EPA's "action level" in their drinking water in the past two years, according to EPA data. Gresham and Tualatin were on the map.

I immediately looked at the websites for both of the cities' water utilities to see what the water providers were telling their residents about lead in their drinking water. In fact, both reported that their water test results were below EPA's action level. So I went to the EPA database myself, and confirmed that neither Gresham nor Tualatin show elevated lead levels, except at a few individual homes.

I'm not sure what data the Bloomberg folks looked at, but putting Gresham and Tualatin on a "next Newark" list seems completely unsupported. It's a list Oregon doesn't want to be on, and the good news is that it's not.