Poor Air Quality Impacts Clackamas County Residents

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has extended an air quality advisory through at least Monday for all regions of the state, with the smoky conditions becoming so bad in the Willamette Valley that air quality relief centers were opened and a number of athletic contests and other events were postponed.

The Clackamas County Public Health Division also issued an air quality health advisory Thursday and spearheaded the opening of air quality relief centers in Canby, Molalla and Oregon City.

Zoar Lutheran Church, 190 Southwest 3rd Avenue in Canby, is open from noon to 6 p.m., with dinner being served at 5. Dogs on leash and other small pets in carriers welcome, but please check with staff.

The Molalla HOPE Extreme Weather Center, 209 Kennel Avenue, will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Small dogs that are kept in kennels and certified service animals are allowed.

And in Oregon City, the Father’s Heart Ministry at 603 12th Street is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Service animals welcome

Service providers are monitoring the situation and will decide if they need to remain open overnight. With the smoke continuing to settle in the valley, experts expect the air quality to reach hazardous levels pretty soon.

All outdoor athletic competitions for the Canby School District were canceled Thursday due to the unhealthy air quality index, with outdoor practices being canceled or moved indoors if possible.

And as of Friday night, air quality in the Portland metro area was still listed as very unhealthy and among of the worst conditions seen in decades.

The Clackamas County Public Health Division says poor air quality due to wildfires can cause health problems for people with chronic lung or heart conditions, the elderly and children. Fine particles in smoke also can affect people suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions.

To avoid breathing problems or other symptoms from smoke, limit your exposure to smoky air. Reduce time spent outdoors, and reduce time spent in vigorous outdoor activity.

Try to avoid driving in smoky areas. If you do need to drive in these areas, keep your windows rolled up and vents closed. If you need air conditioning, make sure you set your system on “re-circulate” to avoid bringing smoke into your car.

Finally, drink lots of water — staying hydrated can keep your airways moist which will help reduce symptoms of respiratory irritation such as scratchy throat, running nose and coughing.

If you have heart or lung disease, such as those suffering from asthma problems, should follow their breathing management plans; keep medications on hand, and contact healthcare providers if necessary.

For updates on air quality relief centers, visit clackamas.us/relief, or for information about shelters, transportation or other resources, call 211.

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