Researchers Map Portland's Hottest, Most Polluted Places

Jul 30, 2015
Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

When it's hot outside, city neighborhoods with lots of pavement get hotter and more polluted than the ones with more greenery. It's called the urban heat island effect. And as the summers in the Northwest get hotter with climate change, these hot spots pose a growing risk to human health.In Portland, researchers are mapping the city's hottest, dirtiest places, and looking for ways to cool them down.

Karen Richards

Tuesday, several local activist groups rallied in front of Eugene’s downtown post office to call on Congress to redirect the country’s tax dollars.

The theme of this year’s tax day gathering was “Fight Climate Change, Not War.” As local taxpayers mailed their returns to the IRS, leaders of social and environmental groups took turns speaking and singing. They asked the government to spend less on defense and allocate more for the environment.

Rachael McDonald

Two young Eugene women had their day in court  Thursday in a lawsuit asking the state of Oregon to do more to prevent climate change.  A three judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals heard arguments at the University of Oregon Law School in Eugene.


2013 was a really dry year for Oregon. Climate scientists at Oregon State University say it was the driest on record for Eugene despite a soggy September.

Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU Kathie Dello says Eugene saw less than half of its normal precipitation this year. Dello says September brought a lot of rain but not enough to make up for the rest of the year. The snow-storm in early December was very dry. Dello spoke by cell from a ski trip in the Cascades.

Environmental philosopher and author Kathleen Dean Moore will present a talk in Corvallis on Sunday, November 17th entitled, “For the Beauty of the Earth: The Moral Urgency of Climate Action.” She speaks with Eric Alan about that topic, and her new book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. That book, co-edited with Michael P. Nelson, gathers the perspectives of the world's moral leaders on what actions we need to take and why.

Ashley Ahearn

Every year, during the warmer months, blooms of algae dot Northwestern waters.
Some of that algae can release toxins, which poison shellfish and the people who might eat those shellfish. In recent years, toxic algal blooms have been more potent and lasted longer. That has scientists trying to understand how our warming climate could be contributing to the problem.

Jacki Williford: “Hi, come on in.”

Jacki Williford and her family live in the suburbs east of Seattle.

Her 7-year old son Jaycee runs by in a Seahawks jersey teasing his little sister.

Courtney Flatt

If you work outdoors in the summertime, you’d better learn to take the heat. That’s true for people who repair roads, landscape yards, or build houses. Too much exertion and not enough shade or water, and you could get sick. In the first installment of our series, ‘Symptoms of Climate Change,’ EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt finds out how the increasingly hot sun is affecting people who make their living by harvesting our crops.