Amongst all the talk and news about the many environmental challenges we face locally and globally, it’s important to look at Oregon’s recent history for a bit of perspective. While we continue to face a range of environmental threats, the state has made huge strides in cleaning our land, water and air. Generally speaking, we live, work and play in a cleaner, less-polluted environment than our parents and grandparents did.
Take the considerable reductions in carbon monoxide as an example. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas that binds to the hemoglobin in blood, which reduces the ability of the blood to transport oxygen throughout the body. In the early 1970s, downtown Portland violated the national health standards for carbon monoxide an average of once every three days.