Concerns over lead in Portland Parks and Rec building affecting - KPTV - FOX 12

Concerns over lead in Portland Parks and Rec building affecting Meals on Wheels program

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Portland Parks and Recreation leaders are admitting they knew of elevated lead problems in their buildings, and the concerns are now affecting a local nonprofit. 

PP&R officials said testing from three years ago showed elevated lead levels in the drinking water at three of their buildings, including the buildings where one of the Meals on Wheels centers is located. 

Meals on Wheels provides nearly 6,000 meals to local seniors each day.

Tuesday morning, PP&R told the Meals on Wheels organizers that the Multnomah Arts Center, where their Multnomah Village Center is located, tested positive for higher lead levels. However, drinking fountains were not replaced or improved with filters until just last week.

Fox 12 was told the reason for not acting sooner on those 2013 test results is now under review.

On Tuesday, when Meals on Wheels organizers learned about the lead levels, they immediately began using bottled water, both to prepare meals and to give to staff and the seniors to drink.

Fox 12 stopped by the Multnomah Arts Center Tuesday and spoke with a woman who eats there, but says she is more concerned about lead in schools than their center. 

"It’s very, very important for children not to have that lead in the water or the paint or wherever it appears," said Meals on Wheels participant Esther McGinnis. "But for us, we're all grown up and our bodies can deal with it in a way that little kids can't. So if I've had a glass or two of water with lead in it, it's gone through my body and that’s the end of it."

Other PP&R buildings of concern include the Fulton Community Center and the Children's Museum, both of which are now going through a water flushing process every morning until further testing is done.

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