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Oregon Cities Receive Mixed Grades for Air Quality

Report shows that more can be done to ensure Oregonians have healthy air to breathe

(April 18, 2018) - PORTLAND, OR

For more information please contact:

Holly Harvey
[email protected]
(206) 512-3292

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2018 report shows mixed grades for air quality in Oregon. Particle pollution continues to be the predominant pollutant in Oregon. The trends reported in this year’s report, which covers data collected by states, cities, counties, tribes and federal agencies in 2014-2016, serve as a strong reminder that addressing climate change and its impacts on air quality are key to the fight for healthy air.

Each year the “State of the Air” provides a report card on the two most widespread outdoor air pollutants, ozone pollution, also known as smog, and particle pollution, also called soot. The report analyzes particle pollution in two ways: through average annual particle pollution levels and short-term spikes in particle pollution. Both ozone and particle pollution are dangerous to public health and can increase the risk of premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.

“Federal and state policies like the Clean Air Act are working. We can improve air quality, but the impacts of climate change are interfering with progress,” said Carrie Nyssen, Vice President of Advocacy and Air Quality for the American Lung Association in Oregon. “Our reality is Oregonians are breathing unhealthy air which puts us at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as asthma, COPD and lung cancer. We must continue the life-saving work of cleaning up our air.”

Key Report Findings

  • The Bend-Redmond-Pineville area is tied for the 26th most-polluted area, an improvement over last year for short-term particle pollution.
  • The Medford-Grants Pass area is tied for the 50th most-polluted area for year-round particles, an improvement. It’s tied for 34th for the most-polluted area for short-term particle pollution.
  • The Portland-Vancouver-Salem area is tied for the 32nd most-polluted area for short-term particle pollution, the same rank as last year with a slight improvement in overall unhealthy days.

“Across the nation, the report found continued improvement in air quality, but still, more than four in 10 Americans – 133.9 million – live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk,” continued Nyssen.

“More can be done to clean our air and save lives,” Nyssen said. “Implementing Oregon’s clean fuels program, working to reduce exposure to diesel pollution and reducing carbon emissions are all within grasp in our state. The Lung Association in Oregon urges members of Congress to defend the Clean Air Act, currently under attack in Washington D.C. We also call on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement and enforce the law instead of trying to roll back major safeguards like the Clean Power Plan and cleaner cars, both steps that help us fight climate change and reduce air pollution.” 

For more information about Oregon’s local air quality data and grades for each county and metropolitan area, visit For media interested in speaking with an expert, please contact Holly Harvey at the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific at (206) 512-3292 or [email protected].


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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