Oakridge Gets EPA Money To Help Curb Smoky Air

Oct 10, 2019

Wood smoke has long been a lingering issue in the Lane County city of Oakridge.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, efforts to reduce it are now getting help with a federal grant.

Wood fire.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

 Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identifed the source of the federal grant. 

The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency says that for two decades, Oakridge’s air quality has been in violation of EPA standards.  The main culprit is soot-heavy wood smoke during the winter months, which hangs over much of the area due to the high terrain.

Oakridge Mayor Kathy Holston says there’s improvements coming up, due to an EPA Targeted Airshed Grant award of $5 million. It’ll be administered through LRAPA, all with the goal of reducing particulate pollution.

Oakridge Mayor Kathy Holston.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“So that’s going to included change-outs for certified wood stoves, ductless heat pumps, filtering for air quality, a coordinator to help put that all together," Holston tells KLCC.  "Filters for the school so that we’ll have a smoke-free area for people to go to, as well as our schools.”

LRAPA, the City of Oakridge, and other partners have worked to clean the air since 2006.  In 2017, Governor Kate Brown designated the Oakridge Woodsmoke Mitgation Project as an Oregon Solutions Project.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.