Clean Air: Oregon to receive $1.1M to improve air quality

Oregon will receive $1,116,626 in federal grants is coming
to Oregon to improve air quality monitoring in communities with environmental
and health outcome disparities stemming from pollution.

The awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) will support projects by Verde in Portland’s Cully neighborhood, the
Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, and the Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality’s work to monitor and use collected air
quality data to inform actions for improving local air quality across the

Award recipients and amounts headed to Oregon:

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

$498,796 to work with communities, universities, and local
and state agencies to co-design an equitable and sustainable community
monitoring framework for collaborative action. This framework will be used to
empower communities- prioritizing underserved, disadvantaged and overburdened
communities- to monitor and leverage the data to inform action that will
improve their local air quality.


$117,830 to collaborate with partners to gather air quality
data using air monitors and create actionable community engagement strategies
to ameliorate air quality concerns in Portland, Oregon’s Cully neighborhood.
Project efforts will result in the development of long-term expertise among the
Cully community and unprecedented grassroots involvement in regulatory
processes that could significantly improve air quality for Cully residents.

Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw

$500,000 to increase community engagement on outdoor and
indoor air quality, and develop a network of air quality monitors. Through the
use of reliable and accurate monitoring equipment, the project aims to improve
data collection on local air quality and mitigate adverse health impacts due to
air pollution exposure.

“Every Oregonian in every community across the state
deserves to breathe clean air free from hazardous air pollutants that can lead
to cancer, neurological disorders and other serious health impairments,”
Oregon Senator Merkley said.

Merkley is chairman of the committee that provides EPA with
its funding.

“This EPA funding will go a long way in ensuring
communities are able to monitor air quality, collect detailed data on the toxic
air pollution, and take meaningful steps to address it,” he said.

“An essential step in reducing air pollution for
communities throughout Oregon is to equip them with modern monitoring tools
that provide accurate and timely data,” Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
said. “These federal investments in those tools from legislation I worked
to pass will make a huge difference for people living and working in these
communities. And I’ll keep battling for similar investments that make similar
air quality impacts statewide.”

According to Merkley, with over $30 million in Inflation
Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) funds and $20 million in American Rescue Plan
investments coupled with increases to its annual budget that his committee has
provided since becoming chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations
Subcommittee, EPA has been able to significantly expand its support for
projects led by community-based nonprofit organizations, state and local
governments, and Tribal governments aimed at improving air quality in
communities across the United States, and particularly in communities that are
underserved and historically marginalized.