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Bullseye Glass files $30 mil. federal suit against Gov. Brown, other agencies

Bullseye Glass Co. (KATU File Photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Bullseye Glass announced plans to file a federal lawsuit against Oregon Governor Kate Brown and several other state heads on Tuesday for what it calls “irrational, discriminatory conduct” that damaged the glass manufacturer’s business operations and reputation.

The lawsuit seeks $30 million in damages and names Gov. Brown along with members of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Oregon Health Authority, and Multnomah County Health Department.

The Portland glass manufacturer was under intense scrutiny in early 2016 after air monitoring stations detected high levels of cadmium and arsenic in nearby neighborhoods. The detections included elevated levels of lead in the air at a Southeast Portland daycare, and resulted in public outcry.

On instructions from Gov. Brown, DEQ ordered Bullseye Glass to stop using lead and eight other metals in its glass-making process.

"What we really wish is that they would have just treated us fairly," Vice President of Bullseye Jim Jones said, "In regards to the air quality issue, we were learning right along with everyone else."

The company complied with the new DEQ rules, and eventually the agency said the cease-and-desist order would be lifted.

The lawsuit alleges that the state acted on incomplete and misleading information when it issued the order, further stating that the company has always kept in full compliance with its DEQ air permit.

"If you look we have always been really responsible, environmentally responsible and compliant with any regulatory agencies," Jones said.

Faced with layoffs, the company said it had to cut employee hours to stay in business.

In the suit, Bullseye alleges that they were told for nearly a decade that the federal regulations didn’t apply, and that the state then made “false representations” of the air standards when threatening to shut them down with the cease-and-desist order.

You can read the full complaint on the Bullseye Glass Company website.

Jones says their biggest hope is to show the community who they really are and help prevent this from ever happening to any other businesses.

"That’s the reason we are filing the lawsuit, that’s they way we can redeem our reputation and get the truth out there," Jones said.

Over the last year, Jones says they have spent over $1.5 million on filters and fixes to ensure they are filtering any and all air toxics.

KATU News reached out to DEQ, Governor Brown's office, the OHA, and Multnomah Co. Health for comment.

Many of the agencies responded, saying they do not comment on pending litigation.

A spokesperson for the governor said, "We cannot comment on the specifics of pending litigation; however, Governor Brown is dedicated to ensuring clean air and water for Oregonians."

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