Craig Prosser of West Salem is on a mission to save lives after he almost lost his 16-year old son last year to Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
"Fear, utter shock. You expect it to happen to us or your grandparents but not to your kid," Prosser said.
He also didn't expect other families in his neighborhood to be going through the same thing.
Within a two-square-mile radius of his home, there were four other confirmed cases of Osteosarcoma, with two more reported, Prosser said.
All the cases involved children and young adults between the ages of 6 to 21.
Three died as a result of the cancer.
"When you have this many kids in such a close proximity with a rare form of bone cancer in a short period of time, it has to be something involved in the environment or something connected in one way or another," Prosser said.
Last December, Prosser and hundreds of others signed a petition demanding answers.
They wanted to know if there is a connection between the cancer and where they live.
The Environmental Protection Agency, state and local agencies have now launched what they call a preliminary assessment.
"We may never know what caused these children to be ill or what causes illnesses of other types in this community. What we're really focused on is preventing any illnesses in the future that are preventable," Anthony Barber of EPA said.
They're targeting four sites:
Walker Middle School, West Salem High School, Orchard Heights Park and a ball field at 7th and Patterson.
The plan is to review how those sites were used and look at the environmental history to find out if there are any contaminants.
Prosser said it's a good first step, and though his son survived, he hopes no one else will have to go through what they did.
"I'm proud of the kid. He's battled for nine-and-a-half months, where people could give up easily but he didn't. He's a fighter," Prosser said.
The EPA said once they finish the preliminary assessment, they'll decide if any additional studies or sampling at the sites will take place.
They said the process is very time consuming and could take about six months.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 4:56 PM EDT2013-06-18 20:56:44 GMT
A former Sherwood High School teacher is facing charges of sex abuse, the alleged victims three students. Washington County deputies say Denise Keesee turned herself into detectives today after monthsMore >
A former Sherwood High School teacher is facing charges of sex abuse, and police say the alleged victims are two former students.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:47 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:47:39 GMT
A group of homeowners in Clackamas County is banding together to send crooks a strong message about an increase in crime in their neighborhood. They're starting to post signs that read, "Glock block. WeMore >
Homeowners in the Milwaukie area are posting signs in their neighborhood that say: "Glock block. We don't call 9-1-1."More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:23:30 GMT
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her. Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 on Friday while she sold lemonadeMore >
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.More >
A driver is now facing charges for the death of a man dribbling a soccer ball along the West Coast with a mission of making it to the World Cup. Richard Swanson, 42, of Seattle, was hit from behind byMore >
A driver is now facing charges for the death of a man dribbling a soccer ball along the West Coast with a mission of making it to the World Cup.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:27 AM EDT2013-06-18 15:27:20 GMT
A 3-year-old girl was taken by Life Flight to the trauma center after falling into a crawlspace and hitting her head. Emergency crews said it happened just before 6 p.m. Monday on Meyers Road in OregonMore >
A 3-year-old girl was taken by Life Flight to the trauma center after falling into a crawlspace and hitting her head.More >
Monday, June 17 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 01:59:19 GMT
LYNCHBURG, VA (RNN) – Kimberly Burke is used to capturing emotion. As a wedding photographer, she has an eye for tender moments, like the photo she snapped of a Marine and his bride praying that has goneMore >
A quiet moment captured before a couple wed has brought collective "awws" by millions on the internet.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:58 PM EDT2013-06-18 16:58:23 GMT
Clackamas and Gladstone firefighters are responding to High Rocks Park in the Gladstone area to search for a missing person in the Clackamas River.Further details weren't immediately available, but FOXMore >
Construction workers called 911 after spotting a man struggling in the water as he was swept down river near High Rocks Park.More >
Monday, June 17 2013 3:19 PM EDT2013-06-17 19:19:36 GMT
A disgruntled man is accused of filing a false police report about a rape threat and possible hostage situation that shut down a Gresham neighborhood early Monday morning. Police said the report cameMore >
A disgruntled man is accused of filing a false police report about a rape threat and possible hostage situation that shut down a Gresham neighborhood early Monday morning.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-06-18 15:55:21 GMT
A former coach at Catlin Gabel school turned himself in on charges of luring a minor Monday morning. Washington County deputies said Deonte Huff was originally arrested back in May at his apartment onMore >
A former coach at Catlin Gabel school turned himself in on charges of luring a minor Monday morning.More >