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Clackamas County agricultural industry to receive free PPE, this time to help block smoke particles from wildfires.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIMBERLY JACOBSEN - Photos of the Sept. 16 mask giveaway event look grainy and orange because of the wildfire smoke.

Oregon State University's Extension Service in Clackamas County once again handed out masks for farmworkers, this time for helping prevent smoke inhalation from wildfires.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIMBERLY JACOBSEN - During the Sept. 16 event, 100 masks went to NW Family Services, along with 100 to OSU Latino/Hacienda, for their outreach efforts. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, OSU Extension staff, Northwest Family Services, the Oregon City Rotary Club and volunteers distributed a total of 5,373 masks to migrant workers and agricultural producers.

Appointments to fill more requests are being accepted. Call 503-655-8631 and leave business info, number of employees and a call-back number. A second event is being held from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the OSU Extension office, 200 Warner Milne Road, Oregon City.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIMBERLY JACOBSEN - On Wednesday, Sept. 16, OSU Extension staff, Northwest Family Services, the Oregon City Rotary Club and volunteers distributed a total of 5,373 masks to migrant workers and agricultural producers."OSU Extension is pleased to be a part of this distribution effort to support our agricultural community during the wildfire crisis," said Leah Sundquist, OSU Extension Service, Clackamas County Liaison. "Small farmers and agricultural workers in Clackamas County continue to work hard to put food on our tables and it is important to keep them safe while doing so."

On May 27, OSU Extension's headquarters in Oregon City served as one of the distribution sites for approximately 1 million KN95 masks — a variant of the N95 masks that were much discussed when the pandemic hit — along with 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to farmworkers. Oregon's stricter farm-operations rules went into effect June 1.

Gov. Kate Brown had, at the time, directed statewide distribution of personal protection equipment, available at no cost to the agricultural community, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In a press conference Monday, Brown also said she was asking the National Guard to help distribute N95 masks to agricultural workers and tribes impacted by the wildfires.

State authorities have warned the public that Clackamas County wildfires have caused hazardous air quality. If possible, they advise people to stay indoors, but if workers need to be outdoors, to wear an N95 or KNK95 mask, which will filter 95% of the particles, while also helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


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