Air quality levels in Oregon and Washington are some of the worst in the country

Air quality levels in Portland dropped to "unhealthy" on Aug. 20, 2018. Photo by Evan Bell

PORTLAND, Ore. – The air quality in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington is starting out even worse Tuesday morning.

Monday morning, the air quality levels were considered “moderate,” but they deteriorated throughout the day – causing Tuesday to start out with air quality index levels in the “unhealthy” range.

It’s some of the worst air in the country, which means everyone could be feeling the effects.

People with heart or lung disease, the elderly, children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable.

“We’re just getting the conditions conducive to, or bringing smoke down from the northeast, even though the fires aren’t particularly close, but the smoke is staying down low, close to the ground and has been filtering through,” said David Elson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.

Residents in the Pendleton area currently have the worst air quality in Oregon. Their air quality levels measure “very unhealthy.”

Experts say be extremely careful about exercising when the air quality is this bad.

Beaverton School District, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, and some other local districts suspended their outdoor student activities, like sports practices and outdoor marching band rehearsals.

Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) guidelines state that practices can be moved indoors if the schools have space/proper ventilation.

Students should check in with their program directors before heading out to practice to see if that is the case.

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