Odor traced to Eugene wood treatment plant, officials say; law firm investigates

Chris Nidel with the law firm Nidel & Nace said they first heard from concerned residents about environmental issues at the plant months ago.

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 6:58 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2019 5:02 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Reports of a chemical odor in Eugene over the weekend have been traced back to J.H. Baxter & Co. wood treatment plant on Roosevelt Boulevard, Lane Regional Air Protection Agency officials said.

Meanwhile, lawyers from a private Washington, DC-based law firm are building a case for a possible lawsuit against the company.

LRAPA officials said in the past, the company has done work to reduce the chemical smell coming from the plant and said they are working to find out what caused the odor over the weekend.

Chris Nidel with the law firm Nidel & Nace said they first heard from concerned residents about environmental issues at the plant months ago. He said they will be in town on Wednesday and Thursday to hear from concerned residents and will be testing the air and soil for contaminants.

"We'll probably be looking into this for the next couple months and find out if there is anything to be done to protect the health and well-being of the people of Eugene," said Nidel.

Shawn Butler, who lives in the Danebo area, said the burning rubber smell from the plant over the weekend caused his eyes to burn. He said he has contacted Nidel & Nace and will be meeting with them.

"I have four kids. My wife runs a daycare. There are schools," said Butler. "I feel all of us should not be introduced to chemicals."

KEZI 9 News asked Nidel if this could lead to a lawsuit against the company, but he said right now it's too early to tell.

"This is the first step in our investigation, and we're not sure where it's going to lead," Nidel said.

KEZI 9 News reached out J.H. Baxter & Co. for comment but has not heard back.

Nidel said concerned neighbors can reach him at Chris@nidellaw.com.

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