PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - One of northwest Portland's newest restaurants, Mama Bird, is temporarily closed after only a month in business.
They're a grilled chicken and vegetable restaurant, with food made right in front of customers on a wood-fired grill.
But neighbors began raising big concerns about it putting off too much smoke shortly after they opened in September.
"There's no way to avoid it. Putting a towel under your door, it doesn’t do anything to stop it. You can’t open your windows," said Amanda Dennis, who lives across the street from Mama Bird.
Dennis said her biggest concern wasn't so much the smell, it was the fine particles from the smoke she may be breathing in.
"When it’s going into the intake that supplies the whole building, there's nothing you can do but be a victim of it," she told FOX 12.
Mama Bird voluntarily closed Oct. 27 to overhaul the entire HVAC system, a $100,000 modification, according to the restaurant's spokesperson.
What they had in place originally, according to a statement on their website, was built to code.
Although Mama Bird is addressing the problem, the executive director of Neighbors for Clean Air, Mary Peveto, said the trend of wood burning restaurants is something that needs to be looked at.
"Unfortunately, this is not a considered issue in most development and when they’re constructing, and the risk that's associated with wood burning is not really well-considered or well-known," said Peveto.
She told FOX 12 that restaurant owners may not take into account the air pollution caused by wood burning while cooking.
And while people on Sunday were being asked by the Multnomah County Health Department to stop burning wood to heat your home due to poor air quality, there isn't anything like that for restaurants using the wood to prepare food.
"Why is cooking with it in a commercial kitchen different? Our lungs don’t differentiate," said Peveto.
According to a statement on their website, Mama Bird is installing a larger fan and scrubber system on the roof of the building.
A representative with Mama Bird says the restaurant is on track to reopen Friday, Nov. 15.
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