air quality

It's stunning to look at pictures of American cities before we got serious about curbing air pollution.  A heightened environmentally sensibility and the Clean Air Act has made a big difference in the quality of the air we breathe. 

Then again, it only takes a wildfire or two to bring the smoke rolling into our communities today.  And other parts of the world face air pollution on a daily basis. 

Beth Gardiner gives us a world tour in the book Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

"Bad" and "awful" are common descriptors for the recent air quality in much of the region. 

Wildfire smoke has pushed the quality into official ranges from Moderate at best to Hazardous at worst. 

We've established in previous interviews that breathing the smoky air is  not quite like smoking cigarettes, but it does have its potential hazards. 

Jackson County Health and Human Services keeps the county up on smoke issues. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR News

Smoke from wildfires in two countries only added to the misery of record-high heat in the region as the week drew to a close. 

Air quality readings from Eugene to the north showed air reaching unhealthy levels by Thursday afternoon. 


Volkswagen messed up, and now the state of Oregon benefits. 

The German car builder admitted to designing diesel cars to trick emissions testing equipment, then apologized and agreed to pay out millions in restitution. 

Oregon's share is more than $70 Million, and the state is now taking public input on how to best spend the money making the air cleaner.

It can be fun to watch the kids get on the school bus in the morning.  Unless you're stuck behind an older bus spewing smelly smoke. 

Rural districts in particular tend to have the oldest, most polluting school buses. 

California's Rural School Bus Pilot Project aims to get many of those older buses off the road, and the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District has been chosen to administer the project for the whole state. 

Kentaro Iemoto/Wikimedia

Eugene city leaders demonstrated on several occasions a commitment to lessening carbon emissions. 

Their reward was a trip to one of the worst-emitting cities on the planet: Beijing. 

Mayor Kitty Piercy recently returned from a low-carbon cities summit in China's capital, one of just a handful of American cities represented, all of them much bigger than Eugene. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

A buildup of smoky air from wildfires prompted Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality to issue a warning for several parts of the state on Tuesday (Aug. 18).

DEQ urged residents in much of Oregon to take precautions to limit their exposure to the smoke.

Complaint Filed Over Power Plant Air

Aug 12, 2014
Michael Jastremski/Wikimedia

Opponents of toxic pollution have painstakingly documented the way in which such pollution causes greater risks to people in poverty. 

Think about it; if you had the money to move away from a power plant, wouldn't you? 

Now several groups are complaining to the federal Environmental Protection Agency about the situation, specifically about a biomass power plant in Eugene. 

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Fire season is only a week old, and Rogue Valley residents are already asking "where's the fire?"

The answer: near Bend.  Oregon Forestry confirms that the smoke pall hanging over the Rogue Valley blew in from the Two Bulls Fire northwest of Bend, which had covered more than 6,000 acres of land by Sunday morning (June 8).

Katie Campbell/EarthFix

It took a long time to clear the air, but the winter air in the greater Medford area is greatly improved from a couple of decades ago. 

In the late 80s, Jackson County and several cities passed ordinances regulating home woodstoves and fireplaces.