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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.
  • Which state is using owls to reduce toxics?

    Oregon - that's hoooo!

    Oregon took a small but important step in reducing toxics by approving new purchasing guidelines September 10. The guidelines, initiated by Governor Kitzhaber in 2012, ensure the state will begin purchasing less toxic products, from office and cleaning supplies to furniture.



  • The signature of smoke: What can we learn from the Pit 36 Wildfire?

    Charted data from the Pit 36 Fire in Estacada tells a familiar story. Spiking smoke levels at night, surging into unhealthy ranges, then dropping just as quickly in the early morning. More often than not, this is the signature of smoke.
    We have seen communities near wildfires be inundated with smoke for days on end. It’s rare, but this does happen. An example is Sisters during the Pole Creek Fire. But even then, smoke levels (and the harmful particulate matter accompanying it) varied greatly from one hour to the next, and from day to day.

    Read more ...

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? 

Join Our Email Update Lists
Receive email notifications and updates on a variety of DEQ projects. Select from a menu of topics that interest you. Sign up for email updates 

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.

Spotlight on Willamette River Algaestjohn.jpg

The Oregon Health Advisory has expanded a health advisory for a stretch of the Willamette River in Portland after preliminary test results showed the presence of toxic blue-green algae in the river.
The advisory extends from Ross island downriver to the south end of Sauvie Island. Officials  recommend people avoid all contact with Willamette water in this stretch of the river.

Check OHA’s Harmful Algae Bloom webpage for updates, Q & As, fact sheets and other information.
DEQ has assisted OHA by talking algal samples from the river, having them tested, and sending test results to OHA. These types of algal blooms occasionally appear in late summer. A combination of low river flow and warmer-than-usual temperatures this summer are the likely major contributors to the algae blooms currently visible.
DEQ In the News Today 
The Daily News, Longview, Wash. – 9/18/14