want pristine air for all to enjoy.
While some Portlanders appreciate the existing air
quality, especially compared to other cities, many believe
there is much room for improvement. They see the diminishing
fresh, clean air as a detriment to the quality of life
in Portland, as the city prides itself on environmentalism.
Some people speak specifically about wanting to reverse
the negative health implications, such as asthma, that
they believe are related to transit emissions. Those
who live near freeways and are disproportionately affected
by polluted air expressed this feeling particularly
strongly. Some suggested that the local government should
enforce stricter regulations on industrial and automobile
emissions, and that companies should be held accountable
to existing environmental protection laws.
Fewer people commented on the burden of noise pollution,
but some did request regulations to prohibit unnecessary
noise. People also offered many ideas for ways that
individuals can help reduce air pollution through the
use of alternative fuels. Some envision a carbon-free
city for the future, where transit exudes zero emissions.
air seems to be cleaner than that of many other cities.
effort needs to be made to prevent deterioration of
- Neighborhoods most affected
by pollution need special attention.
- Health repercussions from
air pollution are a real concern.
- Smoking should be limited
or eliminated in public spaces.
- Industries need to be
held accountable to community complaints of air pollution.
- Whose responsibility is
it to ensure clean air?
air seems to be cleaner than that of many
- Large numbers of people commented on their
appreciation for Portland’s clean air, often
stating that Portland has cleaner air than
- Respondents view the amount of trees as
a major contributor to clean and fresh
air. They state their support for trees in
a wide range of settings, including:
- Lining neighborhood streets;
- In forests surrounding the city;
- In the many urban parks; and
- In natural areas inside and outside
- Portlanders imagine many more trees throughout
the city distributed equally among all neighborhoods.
- Some appreciate the existing restaurants
and increasing number of bars that ban smoking.
air quality is a rare gift.”
have seen tree trimmers from the power
company come out and just mutilate the
vegetation. I think if the power lines
are getting in the way of the trees, they
should be put under the street, not made
value] clean air from the many trees.”
- Move power lines underground to
prevent trees near them from being diminished.
effort needs to be made to prevent deterioration
of air quality.
- Many Portlanders feel that the air quality
in Portland is not as good as it could be,
or that it has been deteriorating in recent
- Some want incentives offered to indrustries willing to make changes that improve air quality.
- There is a sense of urgency among many Portlanders,
who feel that if the air quality is not improved
soon, it will be too late to reverse the damage.
- Respondents have many ideas about what needs
to change in order to protect the city’s air:
- City Council needs to listen and respond
more proactively to neighborhood concerns
of toxins in the air;
- Public transit should be converted to
use alternative energy sources such as
biodiesel or electricity;
- Incentives should be made available
that encourage people to purchase environmentally-friendly
- Biking and other alternative modes of
transportation should be encouraged;
- Air quality improvement efforts should
target existing causes of pollution;
- Regular air testing should be implemented.
is known as a ‘Green’ city. However, we
have terrible air quality in the metropolitan
area. I live in NW Portland and am bothered
by asthma and allergies to the toxics
in our air. In the summer months it is
impossible to keep window open due to
the air quality.”
with the air pollution before it becomes
must do something about the air quality
before it becomes too late…”
most affected by pollution need special attention.
- Residents of Northwest neighborhoods call
for controls of air pollution from the ESCO
- North Portland needs better air quality
- People that live near freeways and in lower-income
neighborhoods request more regulations of
air quality because of the effects of concentrated
need to stop poisoning the air of our
poorest neighborhoods and creating an
entire generation suffering from asthma
repercussions from the air pollution are a
- People's health is suffering from the air
pollution in Portland.
- Asthma is prevalent, especially for young
people, due to the air pollution in some neighborhoods.
- The city must prevent health problems for
children and other people residing in neighborhoods
contending with greater pollution factors
by regulating the underlying issue of air
For more concerns over air pollution, see
Portland has placed such a great emphasis
on infill and the urban growth boundary,
we should also consider the health costs
of living in the polluted industrial air.
Many studies have been done on the toxics
in our air by DEQ (Portland Air Toxics
Assessment) and Lewis and Clark…but so
far no action has been taken. This should
change immediately or we do not deserve
the moniker 'Green City.'"
live in NW Portland and am bothered by
asthma and allergies to toxics in our
air. In the summer months it is impossible
to keep windows open due to the air quality.”
should be limited or eliminated in public
- A small yet strong group of respondents
want to see Portland become smoke-free.
- Some people envision all restaurants and
bars without smoking.
- Others just want to see more smoke-free
bars, restaurants and no smoking near public
doorways or offices, etc.
- Some would like to see Portland become the
first entirely smoke-free city.
need to be held accountable to community complaints
about air pollution.
- Many people agree that corporations need
to be held accountable for waste and operations
that impact air quality in local neighborhoods.
- The loudest call for action among respondents
was to control the air pollution from the
international company ESCO Corporation, headquartered
in Northwest Portland.
- There are differing opinions on how to regulate
ESCO, although many people share a concern
that ESCO in particular should be responsible
for improving local air quality. Specific
- Relocating ESCO facilities;
- Closing down the ESCO headquarters;
- Requiring that the company pay fines
for chemical output in the environment;
- Halting operations on hot, clean
air days because the pollution is too
our environment is paramount to me. We
need to protect human health from harm
by environmental toxins (ESCO).”
air: I live in NW Portland and between
the freeways and the industry to our north,
the air is often foul-smelling and unhealthy
to breathe. Many mornings with both summer
and winter inversions the air smells like
a parking lot of trucks with their engines
on. This is unfortunate and I think much
more attention should be paid to the quality
of the air we breathe. The city and state
seem to do a better job on water quality
(also crucial). Tougher regulations and
enforcement on industry such as ESCO so
close to dense residential neighborhoods.
Though this is the purview of DEQ, is
there some way the city government can
intervene or apply some pressure on this
action and enforcement for better urban
air quality, including a crack down on
air pollution by ESCO, which contaminates
large swathes of NW Portland, the Pearl
and downtown air...”
the future] pollution is drastically reduced.
There are no bad air advisories. Companies
will be held legally and economically
responsible for their impact on the environment.”
- There should be city-wide policy
to regulate corporate pollution.
- Incentives are needed for companies
to be motivated to change their practices.
responsibility is it to ensure clean air?
Some people emphasize the need for certain groups to
take full responsibility for keeping the air clean.
The majority of people suggest that businesses at risk
of air pollution begin to adopt green sustainable practices.
Some respondents discuss the idea of encouraging more
small business development in pedestrian-friendly neighborhood
shopping districts. Others want incentives offered to
indrustries willing to make changes that improve air
Another group of respondents emphasize the role of
government and the need for policy to set the precedent
for clean air. Many people thought the City should
provide incentives to organizations and industries
that are willing to follow best practices. They also
feel the City should create stronger controls and
enforcements that would regulate industrial pollution.
Another idea of some respondents is for the government
to reward the public by offering savings to regular
riders of public transportation, beyond the monthly
bus pass, which can be too expensive. Some people
want stricter laws on auto registration and emissions,
while others ask for more long-range planning changes
to create more walkable neighborhoods.
The third group of respondents is primarily focus
on the responsibility of individual Portlanders
to keep the air clean. Certain lifestyle practices
are touted by some as being the best answer for
protecting the Portland’s air quality. These include
walking, taking public transit, biking, or buying
non-fossil fuel dependent vehicles.