The Volcano Put a New Face on Portland, Oregon: Everyone Is Masked, but Life Is Not a Ball

UPDATED 07/07/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/07/1980 at 01:00 AM EDT

It's like living in a flour sifter," coughed one housewife of the fallout that has plagued the Portland, Oreg. area since the second major Mount St. Helens eruption in June. At first, rain-sodden ash covering the roads was the problem, causing skids and two fatal accidents. Then sun dried the ash to a powder, which swirled through the streets and into eyes, hair and clothing. Now automobile air filters clog, ponds turn to mud and the roses in the "City of Roses" are withering on the vine. The local joke is that 38 percent of Portland is suffering from VD—volcanic dust.

To preserve their lungs, citizens have covered their faces with everything from surgical masks to 25¢ paper models to garish bandannas. (As of last week these were still no designer models.) One artist, looking on the bright side, painted large, toothy smiles on her fabric mask. Just about everybody in town is being a good sport, though: When the First National Bank asked patrons, for security reasons, to remove their masks when entering, everyone complied—even the robbers in each of the six stickups of the bank's branches since the dust-up began.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters