The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is responsible for protecting and enhancing Oregon’s water and air quality, managing the proper disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, providing assistance in cleaning up contaminated properties and enforcing Oregon’s environmental laws. The agency was formed in 1969 to replace the State Sanitary Authority, which had been created in 1938 when citizens overwhelmingly supported an initiative to clean up the Willamette River.
As environmental problems have become more complex, DEQ’s role has expanded to fight climate change with policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent toxic chemical releases and reduce risks from toxins already in the environment. DEQ encourages personal responsibility by providing communities with technical assistance.
The agency director has the authority to issue civil penalties for violations of pollution laws and standards. DEQ relies on several citizen advisory committees and government officials to guide its decisions.
DEQ employs approximately 650 scientists, engineers, geologists, toxicologists, inspectors, legal and policy staff, technicians, managers and professional support staff across the state. DEQ’s headquarters are located in Portland, with regional offices throughout the state.
Information about this agency's divisions, offices, programs, etc.
Mailing Address: 700 NE Multnomah St., Suite 600, Portland 97232
Telephone: 503-229-5696; Toll-free (Oregon only): 1-800-452-4011
Contact: Richard Whitman, Director
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