Portland International Raceway (PIR), the racetrack that the city of Portland owns and operates in North Portland as a city park, still allows the use of leaded racing fuel, making the city one of the top lead polluters in Portland.
While leaded fuel has been banned on our highways for decades due to the well-documented dangers of lead exposure, it’s still legal to use at a racetrack such as PIR, but legal doesn’t always mean safe.
Recent research about the continued allowance of leaded racing fuels shows that living near a raceway like PIR can cause increases in elderly mortality and decreases in the academic performance of children.
In fact, growing up near a racetrack emitting the amount of lead as PIR can cause as much as a 10% decline in performance on standardized tests by the third grade. Even a single year’s exposure can reduce their school performance by several percentage points. The damage declines over distance, but the effects can be measured as much as 25 miles away.
Concerned about these findings, Kenton neighbors reached out to the authors of these studies and were told they should move out of Kenton due to the lead exposure risk posed by PIR.
Yet, the city contends that “PIRs current operations are safe for the community.” The KNA strongly disagrees and has petitioned the commissioner in charge of Portland Parks & Recreation, Carmen Rubio, to ban leaded fuel use at PIR.
To that end, the KNA is looking to start a campaign and rally the community around eliminating leaded fuel at our city park. Want to join? Please let us know. And if you want to take action now, contact our city leaders and tell them to get the lead out of PIR! You can reach Commissioner Carmen Rubio directly at email@example.com and 503-823-3008.
• Please see the KNA’s letter to Commissioner Rubio regarding leaded fuel use at PIR.
• An update on leaded fuel use at PIR
• Download the Lead Free Parks flyer.