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Report: Medford, Grants Pass rank among worst air quality in US

The American Lung Association rated the Medford/Grants Pass area as the 10th most polluted area in the nation for 'annual particle pollution' and 17th for 'short-term particle pollution.'

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 6:38 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 6:39 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A new report from the American Lung Association had unfortunate news for residents of the Rogue Valley, finding some of the most polluted air in the United States between the Medford and Grants Pass areas.

The 2019 "State of the Air" report ranked the Medford-Grants Pass area as the 10th most-polluted area in the U.S for "annual particle pollution" and the 17th most-polluted area for "short-term particle pollution." Jackson County in particular received an "F" grade for high-particle pollution days.

"State of the Air" 2019 report (from the American Lung Association)

Top 25 most polluted cities for short-term particle pollution

1. Bakersfield, CA
2. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA
3. Fairbanks, AK
4. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
5. Missoula, MT
6. Yakima, WA
7. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
8. Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT
9. Seattle-Tacoma, WA
10. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
11. Logan, UT-ID
12. Visalia, CA
13. Phoenix Mesa, AZ
14. El Centro, CA
15. Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID (tie)
15. Sacramento-Roseville, CA (tie)
17. Medford-Grants Pass, OR (tie)
17. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA (tie)
19. Eugene-Springfield, OR
20. Salinas, CA
21. Anchorage, AK
22. Bend-Prineville, OR
23. Portland-Vancouver-Salem, OR-WA (tie)
23. Reno-Carson City-Fernley, NV (tie)
25. Bismarck, ND (tie)
25. Pocatello, ID (tie)

Naturally, increasingly prevalent smoke from savage wildfires was the biggest factor in these ratings.

“People living in the area should know that we’re breathing unhealthy air, driven by wildfires as a result of climate change, placing our health and lives at risk,” said Cathy Gidley, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Oregon. “Many places in Oregon have seen their air quality worsen significantly. We must do more when it comes to protecting public health and people’s lives.”

Today we spoke to people that live and work in the Rogue Valley. We asked them their reaction to this new report. 

Roberta Van De Water says, "it seems to be kind of a trend in the west." She says the past two years fire season has been horrible. Van De Water believes that this report has a lot to do with the wildfire activity we see in Southern Oregon and Northern California. 

Wiley Basho Gorn works in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He says, "it's a scary view into the future." Before I told him where the Rogue Valley ranked he was going to guess top 50. He says this is very unfortunate especially for the Festival that relies on being outside for some of its performances. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 206851

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40371614
Washington26781248
Marion23425323
Clackamas18932235
Lane13908164
Jackson11535146
Deschutes1001882
Umatilla859387
Linn561181
Yamhill478279
Klamath477678
Polk399356
Douglas388483
Malheur361463
Josephine360672
Benton326522
Jefferson237039
Coos216637
Columbia192129
Union149924
Wasco144430
Lincoln143021
Crook129223
Hood River121633
Morrow115416
Clatsop10589
Baker101115
Curry71011
Tillamook6604
Grant5507
Lake4678
Harney4339
Wallowa1945
Gilliam801
Sherman671
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3809710

Reported Deaths: 63356
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124774424456
Riverside3016684627
San Bernardino2992894845
San Diego2818103771
Orange2730575113
Santa Clara1201632188
Kern1107991404
Sacramento1078211736
Fresno1029471724
Alameda896591277
Ventura816611031
San Joaquin747271440
Contra Costa70730813
Stanislaus634971070
Tulare49776849
Monterey43836432
San Mateo42681581
San Francisco37269556
Santa Barbara34613455
Solano33762266
Merced32313478
Sonoma30884317
Imperial28855741
Placer23589299
Kings23195247
San Luis Obispo21421261
Madera16638245
Santa Cruz16246208
Marin14206230
Yolo14160212
Butte12668194
Shasta12630233
El Dorado10396116
Napa1002680
Sutter9663113
Yuba648951
San Benito610963
Lassen578424
Tehama573463
Nevada491975
Humboldt449948
Mendocino434050
Tuolumne421271
Amador374047
Lake356345
Glenn243427
Siskiyou239637
Colusa228418
Calaveras220756
Del Norte14588
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7366
Modoc5585
Mariposa4657
Trinity4225
Sierra1160
Alpine890
Unassigned280
Medford
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Hi: 95° Lo: 67°
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Brookings
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Crater Lake
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Grants Pass
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Klamath Falls
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