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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: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Fog and stagnant air in the valleys, dry and mild weather continues into Monday
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