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  • Cars, Combustion, Carbon Monoxide and a Commitment to Cleaner Air
    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.
  • Spotlight on Wildfires and the Air That You Breathe

    A Message from DEQ Director, Dick Pedersen...
    I think for most people, Oregon DEQ brings to mind environmental protection and regulation. And that’s true. We care a lot about the environment and the health of our air, land and water. 
    But we also care about the health of all Oregonians. We care about people and their quality of life.
    DEQ may not be able to prevent a wildfire from destroying your home, but our scientific data on air quality levels can ultimately help save lives. Our work during wildfire season is a good (and timely) example of how our responsibilities to environmental health and human health can converge. During wildfires, DEQ’s primary responsibility is to monitor air quality and use our data to help the public protect themselves from severe smoke impacts.
  • Chemical Weapons and Environmental Cleanup in Umatilla County

    At one point in the 60's, the Umatilla Chemical Depot near Boardman housed 12 percent of the nation’s chemical warfare agents. The depot held a massive stockpile of nerve and mustard gas (more than 3,717 tons) and all kinds of chemical agents for use in rockets, bombs, tanks and other projectiles.
    Fast forward to 1985. Congress directs the Army to destroy the nation’s entire chemical agent stockpile, including munitions stored in Umatilla. In 1997, the Army builds the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility and installs four incinerators to destroy all chemical agents at the depot.
    During this time, EPA found a number of separate problems at the site, not related to the chemical weapons stockpile. This included groundwater contamination in several of the depot’s lagoons, which served as washout areas to clean conventional munitions. EPA placed the site on its National Priorities List, a database that identifies and prioritizes contamination and hazardous waste site across the country. EPA also identified seven other areas in need of environmental cleanup. DEQ would become involved in a multi-year effort to address each of these areas.


Resources DEQ Spotlight
DEQ Office Locations, Hours and Closures


New! DEQ opens office in Klamath Falls - click for location

For notice of inclement weather closures at DEQ and statewide, check the Oregon State Office Closures page.
How Do I? 

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Director Dick Pedersen

Meet Director Dick Pedersen
Comcast newsmakers interview Department of Environmental Quality Director Dick Pedersen about the agency's approach to solving environmental problems. Watch the video.