Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Portland Air Toxics Solutions

​DEQ led a groundbreaking study to estimate levels of toxic air pollutants and their associated risk in the Portland area; and draw together local governments, affected communities and businesses through an advisory committee to provide recommendations to reduce health risk. The Portland Air Toxics Solutions study ran from 2009-2012. It estimated ambient concentrations of 19 air toxic air pollutants and their associated risk in the Portland Metropolitan area for the year 2017.

Emissions from urban sources (i.e., manufacturers, paint and solvent facilities, gas stations, and residential wood burning) based on the 2005 emissions inventory were projected to the year 2017, taking into account changing economic conditions and population growth. DEQ inputted the projected 2017 emissions, population, and weather into the dispersion model Calpuff to estimate the ambient concentrations of these 19 air toxics, their associated risk, and the sources driving the risk.

The PATS model indicated that gasoline & diesel engines and residential wood burning would be the main source of air toxics health risk across the Portland Metropolitan in 2017. Areas close to industrial facilities using heavy metals also showed heightened health risk. The environmental justice analysis further demonstrated that disproportionate impacts from toxic air pollutants occurred for minority and low-income populations in the Portland Metropolitan area. 


Full Report:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Study Methodology
    3.1 Intro to Study Methodology
    3.2 Pollutants of Concern
    3.3 Study Area
    3.4 Emissions Inventory
    3.5 Modeling Overview
    3.6 Monitoring Overview
  4. Modeling Results
  5. Emission Source Categories Ranked by Total Risk
  6. Source Category Emission Reduction Targets
  7. Assessment of High Priority Source Categories and Overview of White Papers
  8. Environmental Justice and Sensitive Populations
  9. PATS Emission Reduction Plan, Next Steps
  10. Appendices

DEQ and its advisory committee identified five emission categories for further investigation: residential wood burning, cars and trucks, heavy-duty diesel vehicles, diesel construction equipment and industrial metals facilities. Since then, DEQ has consulted with local governments, affected people and businesses, and university researchers to perform additional investigations to inform risk reduction actions.

For example, DEQ:

  • Collaborated with transportation planners to support reduction of vehicle emissions.
  • Performed a residential wood burning survey to better understand and help local governments decrease wood burning emissions.
  • Pursued partnerships and legislative options for cleaner diesel engines.
  • Collaborated with US Forest Service researchers in a moss study that identified the industrial sources of heavy metals and led to development of a health risk-based air toxics permitting program.​

​For access to PATS data, please contact Meenakshi Rao​


Aida Biberic
Principal Air Quality Scientist