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.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:56 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:56:12 GMT
The body of a missing Portland woman has been found in Hawaii. A medical examiner's office in Hawaii confirmed Tuesday the body of Ivanice Harris was found near Yokohama Bay. A cause of death has notMore >
The medical examiner's office in Hawaii confirmed Tuesday the body of Ivanice Harris was found near Yokohama Bay. A cause of death has not yet been determined.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:25 AM EDT2013-05-22 05:25:22 GMT
Fluoride in PortlandPortland voters are deciding Tuesday what kind of water will be coming out of the tap. They're voting between fluoride or no fluoride in the city's drinking water. The first batch ofMore >
Portland voters are deciding Tuesday what kind of water will be coming out of the tap. They're voting between fluoride or no fluoride in the city's drinking water.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:28 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:28:17 GMT
The man held responsible for a deadly shooting outside of a southeast Portland sports bar was sentenced to 36 years behind bars. A judge handed down the sentence for Vorladeth Souvannachoumkham today in court. AMore >
The man held responsible for a deadly shooting outside of a southeast Portland sports bar was sentenced to 36 years behind bars.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >