Portland Radon Map and other Hazards – 2019 Update

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When it comes to choosing a home to buy in Portland — or anywhere — it’s all about location. Is it near a good school? What’s the neighborhood like? Can you see Mt. Hood? 

There’s an aspect of location that most people don’t think about right away, but should be just as important in the decision-making process: The home’s proximity to natural hazards. 

You might be thinking: Natural hazards? Portland? It’s true — Portland’s climate is mild, we do have a volcano in city limits but it’s very dormant, and overall this is a pretty safe place to live. On the other hand, there are some serious risks that home buyers — and owners — should take into consideration. Some, like radon, are fixable, and others are not. Knowing your risk is the first step toward protecting yourself and your home investment, so take a moment to check out the following maps before you buy a home in Portland!

Portland Radon Map

Click here for the 2019 interactive Portland Radon Map.

Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that emits radiation and poses a significant health risk if not managed in the home: According to the EPA, it’s the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Because of Portland’s unique geology, radon that is generated deep within the earth’s crust is able to escape and enter the foundation of homes — no matter their age or construction method. In fact, according to Oregon Health Authority (OHA), 13% of homes in Portland have a radon level that is considered high risk (4 piC/L or more. The Portland radon map shows the overall risk for Portland and surrounding areas; however, the OHA highly recommends that all homes be tested for radon, regardless of what the map says the risk might be. That’s because radon levels can vary from door to door, and they also change over time. The good news is, radon can be mitigated and the risk reduced to next to nothing — but you have to test to know the risk! When buying a home in Portland, ask for a recent radon test, and test again (at a different time of year, because ground temperature can affect emissions) after you move in. 

Portland Wildfire, Flood, Earthquake and Landslide Risk Map

Yikes! That’s a lot of hazard to look at all at once, but trust us — it’ll be worth it. The Portland Hazard Maps created by the City of Portland are easy to understand once you play around with it a little bit. To zoom to a specific Portland address, simply type it in the box in the top-right corner. 

Once you know what type of hazard zones the home is in, talk to your Portland real estate agent about how that should affect your home-buying decision. In some cases, it’s a matter of testing for radon, or adding flood or earthquake insurance to your expected homeownership costs, or simply being in the know about wildfire evacuation routes. In other cases, you may simply decide to buy elsewhere. Our top 1% Portland buyer’s agent will make sure to give you the best possible advice for your next home purchase!

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