Woman Suing Portland For Tear Gas Health Issue

Fallout from the protests of 2020 is still visiting the city. Lanora Vasquez filed the civil rights complaint this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court suing the city of Portland, alleging that tear gas deployed by police during summer 2020 demonstrations caused lasting damage to her menstrual health. 

The victims lawsuit ordered: a jury trial, up to $10,000 and a judgement that the city was negligent in its use of tear gas. Vasquez did not participate in any of the demonstrations held throughout the city. However, tear gas deployed during that period affected the neighborhood where she lived.  Tear gas entered her home through windows that she opened to get fresh air. She then began to experienced severe cramping and an irregular menstrual cycle. The pain was so debilitating that she had to move out of her home of 10 years in August of 2020, she said. 

Vasquez, who is immunocompromised, said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic she only left her house that summer to walk around her block. But two weeks after Portland police began using tear gas to disperse protesters downtown, going outside caused Vasquez debilitating pain.

 Although some of the pain has subsided and she is now able to go on her daily walks, she is still experiencing heavy and irregular cycles. Vasquez said she hopes her lawsuit will help those who are experiencing a similar “health puzzle” find the cause of their symptoms and get treatment. 

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler barred the Portland Police Bureau from using CS gas, one kind of the toxic gas, in September 2020 after being criticized by residents about tear gas seeping into their homes. The city attorney’s office declined to comment on the pending litigation. The filing gives the city а month to respond.