Because of its toxicity, the sale of leaded gasoline in passenger cars was banned by the EPA in 1996. But its use was still allowed for “off-road” vehicles, such as farm machinery, marine engines and race cars. There are more than a dozen major race tracks around the United States where leaded gasoline is still in use. But only one of these racetracks is close to residential neighborhoods and schools. That's the Portland International Raceway, owned and operated in North Portland by the city of Portland as a city park. Residents of North Portland have been fighting with the city to ban the use of lead at the raceway for over seven years, but so far to no avail.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Greg Bourget, Executive Director of Portland Clean Air, who has been working for the past two years with the Kenton Neighborhood Association, on their campaign to eliminate leaded fuel at the racetrack.