The City of Eugene is temporarily closing Trainsong Park beginning today, January 13, following the unexpected discovery of elevated levels of dioxins in the soil. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) collected soil for testing for background data in the fall of 2021. The results of the testing revealed dioxins, a group of toxic chemical compounds.
The City of Eugene Parks and Open Spaces Division will temporarily close Trainsong Park out of an abundance of caution until further testing and evaluation have been completed. The City’s top priority is ensuring the safety of community members.
According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), people are exposed to soil in parks less often than they are exposed to soil from their own yards, because they typically spend more time at home than they do in a park. OHA guidance says that a family with young children would have to visit the park four days per week for an entire year before there would be any risk of health effects. Children under three years old would be at greatest risk because they swallow more soil per body weight than older children.
The City of Eugene is working with DEQ to follow through on the next steps of testing and evaluation. Trainsong Park will remain closed until the park has been deemed safe for all users.
Since 2020, DEQ and OHA have been looking into findings of elevated levels of dioxins in soil samples around J.H. Baxter’s facility in Eugene. DEQ also required soil sample collection be completed by the consultants at sites away from the J.H. Baxter facility to provide background data. Trainsong Park was one of seven background sites where samples were collected. The soil sample result showed a dioxins level of 71 ppt (parts per trillion). The cause of increased dioxin levels in the park is unknown at this time.
More information will be shared with the community as it becomes available from DEQ. See the DEQ news release.
Questions regarding dioxins: