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Oakridge Air distributes over 1,000air purifiers to the Oakridge Westfir communities

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Some of the Oakridge Air office team members in front of their office at the Oakridge Industrial Park. Left to right: Lauri Patty (SWS Board Member), Susan Obermeyer (SWS Board Member), Grace Kaplowitz (Good Company), Sarah Altemus-Pope (SWS Executive Director)

…And more air purifiers are on their way.

by MARIA HULL/for The Herald  —  Oakridge Air is a project of South Willamette Solutions (SWS), a local nonprofit organization that also manages the Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative. Oakridge Air is primarily funded by an EPA grant to reduce wintertime wood smoke pollution and, in turn, lessen health impacts from smoke for residents of Oakridge. This small organization has put day-to-day work aside to step up and respond to community needs during the Cedar Creek Fire and the resulting ongoing hazardous air.

Team members, volunteers, and partners set up to distribute air purifiers. Left to right: Grace Kaplowitz (Good Company), Susan Obermeyer (SWS Board Member), Mariah Hull (Oakridge Air), Matt Van Dyk (DHS Emergency Management)

During the September evacuation, SWS contracted staff coordinated clean air spaces, arranged evacuation transportation, and since then have been working with agencies and volunteers to distribute air purifiers to households throughout the community.

Over the course of just 3 weeks, 1,015 purifiers have been given to homes in need. Efforts still continue. Numbers are limited, but Oakridge Air still has purifiers to distribute, and reports that they think they will have purifiers through Friday the 21st.

Parameters for qualifying for an air purifier currently include: those who do not have an air purifier in their home who live in Oakridge, Westfir, or surrounding areas. Stop by the Oakridge Air office at 48513 HWY 58, Oakridge, OR on Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm to apply for a purifier for your home. If you’re not sure if you qualify for a purifier, you are encouraged to apply and inquire, as it’s always possible that more purifiers may be received and parameters will change.

These results were made possible by a partnership with Oregon Health Authority, staff efforts, and the efforts of many local board members and volunteers! Other partners include Lane County, Willamalane, and Jerry’s Home Improvement and Home Depot in Eugene and Springfield.

Other efforts made by Oakridge Air include clean air fun for individuals and families in Eugene. A partnership with Willamalane offers a free 6 week pass for folks living in Oakridge or Westfir to access mini golf, rock climbing, gym facilities, swimming, and more.




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