Radon itself is a radioactive gas which can cause lung damage. It is the second leading cause of lung disease behind smoking. Radon is distributed is a somewhat random pattern in the metro area, see the images below for more on this.

The radon can get into a building that is built over high radon soil, and whoever is inside the building would then be breathing the radioactive air.

This video shows a cloud chamber which can visualize radon decay in the air.

Call 503-939-9585 to schedule a Radon Test with Rush Locates.  See our main radon testing areas with a handy map.

A radon test by itself is $150 but you can get a discount when you book a sewer scope and tank search at the same time. Call today to schedule the Homebuyer Inspection Package. Rush Locates uses the most accurate radon test available. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. so testing is important.

Radon testing is recommended to anyone living in the area. Levels of indoor radon in the Portland area can vary greatly but in many cases they are high enough to be a health risk. There is more information on the distribution of high radon areas below.



Radon enters homes from the soil and it can penetrate walls including concrete and plastic  vapor barriers. Once inside the home this airborne and radioactive gas is inhaled and can lead to health problems. If high levels are found a vapor reduction system can be installed which will lower the radon levels.


The radon in Portland comes from uranium in granite in the ground. This granite was deposited in the Willamette valley during the Missoula Floods about 15,000 years ago. The uranium turns into radon as it undergoes radioactive decay, it will eventually become lead. The radon only lasts a few days before decaying itself, but during that time it can cause lasting genetic damage.


The whole Portland metro area is at risk with the highest risk along the Columbia river and the outer SE. See more radon zones from the EPA, from the OHA, and also from radon.com. Government agencies within Oregon have published location based risk factors, we host that data below in order to make it easier for you.

You can get a radon test performed through Rush Locates for $150 to find out the radon levels in your home or business. Radon Levels vary slightly by the time of year, typically they will be highest in the winter months. January is national radon action month for this reason.

Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Yamhill, Polk, & Baker counties require radon require radon resistant new construction.

Levels of Radon in Portland by Area

Areas expected to be high in radon can be seen in these images. Most areas in Portland are at high or moderate risk for indoor radon levels. The Portland Radon Maps seen here are from multiple sources.


radon data showing risk levelThe map of radon in Portland is based on radon tests and reflects the source of radon in the Portland area. This Portland radon map shows a similar result as the one above it.

What to do about a high radon level

You can view the radon risk levels for all of Oregon and the above image with this link provided by the Oregon DEQ. There is also a ZIP code list with risk levels, this is a downloadable PDF which can be found by clicking here. Radon testing is easy and it can help you or your family stay healthy.

We can see how homes over 450′ elevation were hit less by the Missoula floods. This image contains very interesting information and graphics about the Missoula floods. The data from a LIDAR map of the Portland area gives valuable insight.

lidar maps and information of portland areaWhen

You don’t have to buy a home to get a radon test! Any time you live somewhere and you don’t know the radon level then that is a good time to get a test. Radon testing is easy!

A homeowner can perform the test themselves or hire someone to do it. Rush Locates can perform these tests for you if needed. These home tests are easy ways to test for the presence of radon at all, but they don’t give a highly detailed view of the situation. In addition, if radon levels are high a company who mitigates it will want to perform their own test before and after.


A professional radon test is done by putting a small monitor in the lowest livable space of the home. The test should be at least 3 feet from any exterior walls of the home, and not in the direct aim of a fan or furnace. These test take at least 48 hours and measure the radon level in every hour or on a continuous model. The radon test wants to get an accurate representation of the radon normally in the house. To ensure this all doors and windows are kept shut during the test; except normal entry and exit. Modern radon test will check humidity, temperature, and any movement to detect potential cheating of test results.

The metrics of the test are in picocuries per liter or pCi/L. Evidence shows health dangers for people living with indoor radon levels above the action limit. The action level with the EPA in the USA is 4.0, the action level with the WHO is is 2.7

What to do about a high radon level

A high radon result can be a cause for concern, however is most cases it’s easy enough to mitigate. There are a number of ways to do this which mostly depend on the structure itself. The main goal is to remove toxic air, normally using an active fan to move it away from the inside of the home. When installed on existing homes it’s standard practice to place part of the system on the side of the home.

photo of a radon reduction systemGet a radon test, call us at 503-939-9585

Depending on the structure of the home this may be as simple as a suction point in the crawl space or under the foundation slab which connects to a pipe with an in-line fan. Obviously a combination of high quality vapor barriers and depressurization are the most effective methods to reduce radon levels. However in most cases the fan system can greatly reduce indoor radon levels. Radon mitigation in Portland is very easy, and only a matter of cost and scheduling.

A company that specializes in radon mitigation can install a radon reduction system for you. These system typically start at around $1,500.

In summary, radon can cause lung cancer so get a test because it’s very common in the area. Radon levels can greatly vary between one house and another even in the same area. It’s in your best interests to do this for yourself.

rough risk level for radon in the Portland area
Thanks to the Oregon Dept of geology and mineral industries for this map of radon risk levels in portland

Call 503-939-9585 to schedule a Radon Test in Portland, Oregon.

Learn more about Radon

Still want to learn more about radon? Check out the OHA website about it, and the source for some of these graphics. Click Here! To learn more on the LIDAR image itself click here. Or to read the informative Oregon Live article on it, click here.

Here is the EPA’s article on radon with a recommended action level of4 pCi/L. This means that if you have over that lever in a test then the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a radon reduction system be install. Here is corresponding article from the WHO which has an action level of 100 becquerels (Bq), which corresponds to 2.7 picocuries per liter (pCi/L).

Here is the Oregon Health Authority article on radon and another one from the OHA this one about radon risk. Still want to learn more about radon in Portland? Please read the wikipedia article, here.

Rush Locates can perform a radon level test for you in your home or business. Call us today at 503-939-9585 to schedule. Don’t want Rush Locates? Here is a list of other companies that perform radon testing and measurement from the Oregon Health Authority. You can also try to find a company on the NRSB website, here or the NRPP website, here.

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