Bullseye Glass temporarily delays layoffs; instead, cuts employee hours

FILE -- Employees work inside Bullseye Glass. (KATU File Photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Bullseye Glass Co. announced Monday that it will cut employee hours after the state ordered the company to stop using lead and other metals in its production process.

The state's order came after high levels of lead were detected in the air at a nearby day care center.

Last week the glass company said it would cut 20 percent of its staff starting Monday.

But the company changed its mind and will postpone those layoffs, at least for the next three weeks. The number of hours cut will equal about 15 employee positions, Bullseye's Vice President Jim Jones told KATU in an email.

But "if the cease and desist order is extended for more than 10 days, we will have to make additional permanent cuts," he said.

Last Thursday, on the orders of Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality required Bullseye to stop using lead and a host of other metals after higher than acceptable levels of lead were detected in the air at the day care center May 9.

The order requires Bullseye to stop the use of lead, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium compounds, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and selenium in uncontrolled furnaces for 10 days. The governor can decide to extend the cease-and-desist order after the 10 days has expired.

The company has a device called a "baghouse" that it uses on one of its furnaces. Jones told KATU in his email Monday that the company is in the process of installing a "much larger, multi-furnace, filtration system." But he said the installation won't be completed until the beginning of August.

The glass company has been under intense public scrutiny for months after it was discovered that high levels of cadmium and arsenic were detected in high levels around the company.

In a news release last Friday, the company questioned the DEQ's actions, calling them "heavy-handed."

DEQ also said high levels of lead were also detected May 10 at the day care center.

State officials said Bullseye was the cause of the emissions.

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