Located on the Pacific Coast and known for its lush forests, scenic rivers, and a thriving fishing industry, Oregon is a primarily agricultural state, producing 95% of the hazelnuts consumed domestically in the U.S. The Willamette Valley region is one of the world’s most agricultural regions.
Farmers there grow over 170 different kinds of crops. Grains, fruit orchards, vegetable farms, and vineyards can all be found in the Willamette Valley. According to the state’s forestry department, Oregon lumber sales totaled $153,590,269 in January of 2011 alone. Fishing and shipbuilding are also active sectors of the state’s economy.
Other industries that provide jobs in Oregon include energy production, metalworking, and mining. However, as with most other states prior to the 1980s, Oregon was heavily relied upon asbestos, even after its dangers were well-known.
If you or a loved one have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in Oregon, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
Keep in mind that we offer assistance to asbestos victims in all areas of Oregon, including:
Portland, Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton Bend, Medford, Springfield, Corvallis, Aloha, Albany, Tigard Lake, Oswego, Keizer, Grants Pass, Oregon City, McMinnville, Redmond, Tualatin, West Linn, Woodburn, Newberg, Forest Grove, Roseburg, Wilsonville, Bethany, Klamath Falls, Ashland, Milwaukie, Altamont, Sherwood, Hayesville, Central Point, Four Corners, Oak Grove, Hermiston, Pendleton, Canby, Troutdale, Happy Valley, Coos Bay, Lebanon, Cedar Mill, The Dalles, Dallas, Oatfield, La Grande, St. Helens, Cornelius, Gladstone, Oak Hills, Ontario, Damascus, Newport, Sandy, Monmouth, Cottage Grove, Baker City, North Bend, Astoria, Silverton, Cedar Hills, Prineville, Fairview, Rockcreek, Sweet Home, Bull Mountain, Eagle Point, Independence, Florence, Molalla, White City, Lincoln City, Green, Stayton, Sutherlin, Jennings Lodge, West Haven-Sylvan, Hood River, Milton-Freewater, Umatilla, West Slope, Scappoose, Seaside, Raleigh Hills, Brookings, Madras, Garden, Home-Whitford, Talent, Roseburg, North Sheridan, Junction City, Winston, Deschutes, River Woods, Warrenton, Creswell, Tillamook, Mount Hood Village, Veneta, and more.
Oregon, Asbestos, and Mesothelioma
Oregon’s position in the heavily-forested Pacific Northwest has been both boon and curse to its economy. Forestry has been a staple industry in Oregon since the 19th Century, and fire prevention in lumber mills and processing plants has always been a concern. In the early days of the forestry industry, the use of asbestos was not widespread.
However, once the fibrous minerals were introduced into all the major industries during the 1930s, sawmills, lumber yards, paper mills and other processing plants incorporated asbestos as fire retardant or insulating materials. Oregon companies bought large amounts of asbestos, especially chrysotile and tremolite, which came from several mines within state borders.
As a result, many workers in the lumber industry were exposed to asbestos during the minerals’ peak use era. Between the Great Depression years of the 1930s till the late 1970s, foresters, tree cutters, sawmill employees, and workers in paper mills and wood pulp processing plants either inhaled or swallowed asbestos fibers while working.
Oregon’s Pacific coastline makes the state an ideal location for shipbuilding. Though this sector of the state economy is essentially secondary to agriculture, shipbuilding and repair work provide jobs for many Oregonians, especially in Portland. This city on the Willamette River was the home of the World War II-era Kaiser-owned Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation facility. The Portland shipyard alone built and delivered 455 Liberty ships to the U.S. Maritime Commission, including The Star of Oregon.
Altogether, the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation constructed 1000 ships, including Victory-class ships, between 1941 and 1945. The shipyard closed shortly after the war’s end. Its former site is now used by Schnitzer Steel Industries.
Asbestos was used in almost every compartment or component of these ships to protect them, their cargoes, and their crews from fires and electrical discharges. This has always been a major concern for sailors and shipmasters, but it was of particular concern during World War II.
Ships bound for war zones were not only prone to accidents at sea, but they were also frequently attacked by enemy ships, planes, and submarines. Though asbestos gave vessels and their crews some level of protection from fires, the resulting exposure to the fibrous materials caused many workers and sailors to develop mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Although asbestos exposure occurred once the ships were built and in active service, the processes of construction and repair placed shipyard workers on higher exposure levels. Certain specialists, such as pipe fitters and electricians, were in close proximity to asbestos with more frequency than stevedores or signalmen. Engineers who worked in the boilers and engine rooms were also in high-exposure groups because fire and heat were necessary to generate steam for the ships’ engines.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Oregon’s job sites, including asbestos mines in geologically active parts of the state, exposed thousands of people to asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. Citing statistics gathered by the U.S. government between 1979 and 2004, the EWG ranks Oregon as 15th in the nation in mesothelioma-related deaths. Per the EWG report, between 838 and 1,128 deaths were caused by mesothelioma and asbestosis in a 25-year period.
Oregon Job Sites Where Asbestos Exposure Took Place
Most of the asbestos exposure in Oregon occurred in job sites where either there was a fire hazard or, conversely, where fire and high temperatures were part of the production process. Many of these sites were factories, paper mills, and shipyards. In addition, because asbestos-containing materials are impervious to high temperatures, fire, chemical reactions, and electricity, they were used in chemical plants, power generation facilities, and auto repair shops.
Since the early 1980s, newly-built facilities use asbestos substitutes to reduce the risks from fire, chemical explosions, and electrical surges. However, deposits of friable asbestos may still be found in older facilities where asbestos abatement efforts have not been completed.
- Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. Shipyard in Portland
- Henry J. Kaiser Shipyard/Swan Island Shipyard, Swan Island
- Henry J. Kaiser Shipyard, Vancouver, WA, across the Columbia River from Portland
- Weyerhaeuser Lumber in Eugene
- Burns Air Force Radar Station in Burns
- Eugene Water and Electric Board Plant in Eugene
- Coastal Pulp & Paper in West Linn
- Oregon Pulp and Paper Co. in Salem
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation facility in Clatskanie
- Chiloquin Lumber & Box Company/Chiloquin Forest Products site in Chiloquin
- Klamath Machines and Locomotive Works factory in Klamath Falls
- Southern Pacific Railroad facility in Klamath Falls
- Borden Chemical (now Hexion) Plant in Springfield
- Martin-Marietta Aluminum Plant in The Dalles (Superfund site)
- Astoria Voyage Repair Station in Astoria
- Buttercup Mines Inc. Asbestos Mine in Baker County
- Liberty Asbestos Mine in Jackson County
- L.E.J. Asbestos Mine in Josephine County
Oregon’s Laws on Asbestos
The process and management of asbestos removal in the state of Oregon is done through the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. The states abides by federal NEPSHA regulations, and also follows federal OSHA regulations regarding workers in a hazardous environment. In addition, Oregon has its own state asbestos regulations that must be adhered to at all times.
- Anyone who plans to work around asbestos must first complete state certification.The state certification process comprises all levels of work involved in asbestos removal, including removal specialists, work supervisors and planners.
- In Oregon, all asbestos removal projects must be approved by the state. Requests can be written prior to the project start date. The only exception to this rule is for private homeowners and projects that require less than three linear or square feet.
- The removal of friable material requires notification to the state, and must be disposed of by state-mandated requirements. Non-friable asbestos removal, in most cases, doesn’t require state notification, as long as the material stays in a non-friable status.
- Disposal of asbestos material must always be done by a certified contractor.
- The state will assess a fee based on the dimensions and size of the asbestos materials.
Although the fee varies from the size and weight of the material, there is also a fee on anticipated projects as well as an annual notification fee on long-term asbestos material removal projects.
Oregon Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq. is that law that mandates the statute of limitations for asbestos-related lawsuits in Oregon. There is no specific statute for asbestos, but all plaintiffs must follow the personal injury statute, which requires you to file within two years of the date that the asbestos-related was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered. For asbestos-related wrongful death cases, plaintiffs have three years from the date of the victim’s death to file.
Legal Help in Oregon
Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.