‘Unhealthy’ Portland air forces changes in activities


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Unhealthy air quality is expected to last until Wednesday in the Portland metro area.

On Tuesday morning, the level was 175. However, the air quality slightly improved just before noon — some parts of Portland bumped back into “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Breathing in dense smoke can cause respiratory problems including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath.

Dr. Andy Barnett, the medical doctor for Legacy GoHealth Urgent Care, said they’ve seen a number of patients come in with respiratory complaints. He thinks people will see the effects of this smoke for months down the line.

“A few minutes or hours of exposure is not nearly as bad as a few days or weeks of exposure,” he said. “The air quality has gotten even worse in the Portland metro area than it was a week ago. We’re seeing levels as high as it’s been in the last several years.”

Officials say when air quality is this bad, people should avoid outdoor activities and watch out for their pets too. Breathing in this kind of air is the same as inhaling smoke from a campfire or smoking cigarettes.

Schools took the air quality into consideration this morning with multiple schools canceling outdoor practices including Tigard High School and Beaverton School District.

Instead of canceling practice altogether, Tigard’s cross country team crowded into the school’s small gym.

“You have to make do with what you have, so we have to work on stability, strength training, some agility work, just to keep them on their feet and keep them moving until the air comes back to healthy conditions,” cross country coach Holly Paris said.

Brad Garrett with Oregon School Activities Association said air quality is so bad across the state that every team in Oregon may not be allowed on a field Tuesday.

“This is some bad air we’re mixing in with now,” he said. “And if we’re going to err at all, it’s going to be on the side of health and safety for our kids.”

Smoke pushed into the area Sunday and won’t filter out until cooler temps arrive on Wednesday.

Viewer photos

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