Oregon Mesothelioma Lawyer
A number of Oregon’s most important industries have helped the economy thrive, but have also contributed to years of asbestos exposure for the state’s workers and residents. Major industries here include agriculture and fishing, but also asbestos-heavy industries like shipbuilding, timber and pulp and paper processing, and mining, including the mining of asbestos.
Oregon ranks high among states for asbestos-related deaths from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer because of these industries and the naturally-occurring asbestos in the state. Now, Oregon mesothelioma lawyers are fighting against the employers and companies that put so many people at risk of exposure and illness. If you developed mesothelioma or another asbestos illness, you can rely on these mesothelioma lawyers to help you get justice.
Asbestos in Oregon
All states have had issues with asbestos and Oregon is no exception. Most states, like Oregon, are still dealing with the consequences of using asbestos so extensively in the past. Although there are now federal, state, and local regulations on how asbestos is used and handled, it still poses a major threat to residents and workers. Buildings were constructed with asbestos insulation and other materials and when it gets damaged or exposed, it can contaminate the air and harm people.
Oregon also has many specific types of industry that have caused people to be exposed and that still put people at risk. These include the timber industry, which includes factories for processing pulp and paper. Shipbuilding, with the long Pacific coast, has also been a major industry in the state and one that has relied heavily on asbestos. Finally, mining and natural deposits of asbestos have exposed workers in the past and continue to put residents at risk of harm.
Asbestos Deposits and Mining
Oregon is home to several natural deposits of asbestos, which are focused in two regions: the southwest and the northeast parts of the state. In the past, several of these deposits were actually active asbestos mines, producing the material and exposing workers to the harmful fibers. Any residents nearby were also exposed as the mining stirred up fibers and contaminated the air. While asbestos mining has ceased, the naturally-occurring asbestos still poses a risk. Any kind of work or construction project that disturbs the asbestos can lead to exposure in nearby residents and workers.
The Lumber and Paper Industry
Lumber has long been an important industry in this heavily-forested state. Workers in the industry did not just cut down the trees, though. They also processed the lumber to make wood pulp and paper. Lumber, pulp, and paper mills all used asbestos in their facilities. The asbestos was used in the boilers, in insulation, and in the machinery and equipment workers used, putting all people in the facilities at risk of asbestos exposure. One example of the contamination these facilities caused is the Chiloquin Lumber and Box Company in Klamath County. This facility operated for decades until 1988. Cleanup of asbestos at the site did not happen until 2005. In the years in between, residents nearby were put at risk of exposure.
Shipbuilding and Asbestos
With its coast along the Pacific Ocean, Oregon has long had an important maritime industry that has included shipbuilding. With a peak around World War II, the use of asbestos in the construction of ships has been extensive. It was prized for its cheap availability, its lightweight strength, and its ability to fireproof, all traits important in making ships.
Anyone who worked in or around shipyards in Oregon when asbestos was used so heavily was likely exposed. Those at the greatest risk of getting sick were workers who actually built or repaired ships and handled asbestos materials, for example the spray-on asbestos insulation used in so many ships. The high use of asbestos on ships helps to explain why U.S. Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma.
North Ridge Estates Superfund Site
Oregon is home to several Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites, and many of them contain asbestos. One example is the North Ridge Estates, a residential community in Klamath Falls. The community was built on the former site of a military barracks that was constructed with asbestos insulation, roofing, tiles, and other materials.
When the asbestos-laden barracks were demolished, the asbestos materials were simply covered over with soil instead of being encapsulated or removed from the site. The modern subdivision built on top was sitting over a contaminated stew of dirt and asbestos. The EPA listed North Ridge Estates as a top priority for cleanup. Several feet of soil need to be removed from the site and cleanup is not yet complete. In the meantime, families there have been put at risk of exposure and illness.
Other Sites in Oregon with Asbestos
In addition to timber and paper, shipbuilding, construction, and mining, Oregon has been home to many other industries and buildings that used asbestos and exposed workers and residents. These include military installations, metalworking plants, power plants, and others. Just a few of these are:
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Clatskanie
- Southern Pacific Railroad, Klamath Falls
- Oregon Pulp and Paper Company, Salem
- Eugene Water and Electric Board Plant, Eugene
- Weyerhaeuser Lumber, Eugene
- Henry J. Kaiser Shipyard, Swan Island
- Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland
- Martin-Marietta Aluminum Plant, The Dalles
- Northwestern Electric Company, Portland
- Publishers Paper, Portland and Oregon City
- Roseburg Lumber Company, Dillard
- Albina Shipyard, Portland
- Burns Air Force Radar Station, Burns
- Oregon Steel Mills, Portland
Asbestos Laws in Oregon
Laws regarding asbestos use and handling are administered through Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. The department handles federal laws and ensures compliance and also administers the state-level regulations. Any workers, for instance, who will be working with asbestos, must be certified through the state. Asbestos abatement projects have to be cleared through the department and disposal must be done through a regulated process and at a licensed facility.
Mesothelioma Care in Oregon
If you have been exposed to asbestos in Oregon, whether on the job or through another source, you need to be screened regularly. The sooner you get a diagnosis for mesothelioma the better, because it makes the cancer easier to treat. If you do get a diagnosis, look for the best cancer care you can find. In Oregon, the Knight Cancer institute at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. This distinction means you can expect to get expert care with leading treatments from experienced staff that is also working on the latest cancer research.
Statute of Limitations
The state of Oregon has set limits on when you can file a lawsuit for asbestos-related illnesses or for the death of a loved one from asbestos exposure. The statute of limitations for a lawsuit is three years from the diagnosis of an illness and three years from the time of death. The time limit is set for three years to limit frivolous lawsuits, but it also means that true victims of asbestos exposure may miss out on much-needed compensation. Because of these limits, it is important that you act quickly to take legal action.
Find an Oregon Mesothelioma Lawyer
The best way to make sure you do not miss out because of the statute of limitations, or because of making other mistakes, is to rely on the help of an Oregon mesothelioma lawyer. When you search for one of these professionals or a legal team devoted to helping mesothelioma victims, you get the best chance of filing a lawsuit that will be successful. Many people have won justice and compensation, but others have failed. You need the best on your side, so look for a lawyer with the knowledge and the experience in getting asbestos victims settlement wins.
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