- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Gov. Kate Brown has announced the resignation of the director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

Brown said Tuesday that Dick Pedersen is stepping down as Oregon’s top environmental official for health reasons that she did not identify.

Pedersen’s resignation comes amid a public outcry over discovery of hazardous levels of cadmium and arsenic near two glass-making facilities in Portland. Questions have been raised about whether the environmental agency took too long to respond to discovery of the toxic hot spots.

Pedersen has been with the agency for two decades and became director in 2008.

Deputy Director Joni Hammond will step in as interim director until a permanent replacement is named.

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