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EPA awards ODEQ $466k to improve diesel monitoring, help protect Portland’s most vulnerable

ODEQ and research partners committed to better protecting city’s most sensitive citizens

Contact Information: 
Mark MacIntyre (

Portland, OR -  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality $466,276 to research better ways to monitor diesel exhaust to help protect Portland’s most vulnerable citizens.  To conduct this critically important research, ODEQ is partnering with local colleges, community groups and government agencies.

In this comprehensive effort, Portland State University and Reed College will lead the research seeking better ways to measure diesel emissions impacts in specific Portland locations to better understand health impacts on certain demographic groups - including low-income residents, communities of color, youth and seniors.  Neighbors for Clean Air, Multnomah County, City of Portland are also active partners for the two-year study, supporting community outreach and providing mapping and demographic information.

“All the measuring in the world won’t help you if you’re not using the right tape measure,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “This grant will help find ways to protect more Portlanders from breathing harmful diesel exhaust.  We need to make sure that the most effective, innovative programs get the resources to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Breathing diesel exhaust is harmful in many ways: diesel emissions contain a complex mixture of very small particles and toxic pollutants that can enter the lungs and bloodstream. Diesel engines emit some of the same pollutants as other sources of pollution, such as “black carbon” in smoke from wood stoves.

One part of this project will assess the relative contributions of diesel sources to particulate matter by continuously monitoring black carbon, particle size distribution and gaseous pollutants to distinguish between diesel sources and other PM sources. This work will produce source profiles for targeted diesel emissions sources and source attribution.  

Other specific study goals:

  1. Identifying specific areas of vulnerability in the Portland metro region,
  2. Assessing the emissions contributions to particulate levels in those areas,
  3. Building the public knowledge base about air pollution and how it can contribute to chronic health diseases in Portland’s underserved communities.

The ODEQ diesel monitoring research is funded through March, 2020.

For more about EPA’s work to promote clean diesel technology:

For more about ODEQ’s diesel program:

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