By Associated Press • 

Oregon governor sets deadline on lead problem at armories

PORTLAND — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has set a Jan. 31 deadline for the National Guard in Oregon to post test results and cleanup schedules for lead at armories.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports in a story on Friday that Brown during an interview with its editorial board called the handling of the problem “absolutely unacceptable.”

Officials say that children visited two armories that inspections showed were filled with lead dust. Officials say the Coos Bay armory hosted a sleepover for elementary school students in May 2015 and that kids spread their sleeping bags on floors with high lead levels.

Officials say Roy Swafford, head of armory maintenance for the Oregon Military Department, also allowed children to visit the Forest Grove armory after inspectors told him to keep the public out.

Swafford declined to comment to the newspaper.

Maj. Gen. Mike Stencel oversees both Swafford's agency and the Oregon National Guard.

Top officials “will do everything within our power to be open, transparent and quickly remediate any issues that we discover going forward,” he said.

An 18-month investigation by the newspaper found that lead contamination at Oregon's armories is among the worst in the nation, and that military leaders didn't heed warnings when state inspectors told them dust was spreading through the buildings.

The National Guard on Dec. 6 ordered public events halted in contaminated armories around the country and agreed to pay for cleanup.

“These are buildings that are used as community centers in red states and blue states,” said Brown's spokesman, Bryan Hockaday. “She's hopeful the Trump administration will step up and make that investment.”

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