Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Portland Harbor Superfund

Jefferson Public Radio has posted a small article with some great photos of the McCormack & Baxter site and Willamette River.

The Oregonian: Behind closed doors, feds to unveil draft of Portland Harbor cleanup plan

Reported by Kelly House in The Oregonian:

Federal regulators in charge of cleaning up the heavy metal and PCB-laden Portland Harbor will test out the first draft of their cleanup plan this week before a few select people.

It will be months before the public sees a version of the Environmental Protection Agency's strategy to decontaminate the Lower Willamette River, and the plan is likely to change between now and then.

My View: Do Superfund cleanup right

As published in the Portland Tribune

October 27, 2015
by Travis Williams

Citizens must be vigilant to ensure Willamette River contaminants are removed correctly

Over many decades, a stretch of the Willamette River from the Fremont Bridge to near the Columbia River has been heavily polluted. Mixed into the river sediments over the years, contaminants such as PCBs, heavy metals, oil-based pollutants, and even the breakdown products of DDT are found in this area.

The Oregonian: Community group bashes Portland Harbor cleanup options as too weak

See story as reported in The Oregonian

"None of the cleanup alternatives outlined in the feasibility study achieve sediment contamination reductions that will result in a healthy river," the group argued in comments submitted Monday to the federal environmental agency.

Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group comments to the National Remedy Review Board

The Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group has submitted comments to the EPA's National Remedy Review Board asking for a more vigorous cleanup plan for the lower Willamette River.

Attached here are comments submitted October 19th to the National Remedy Review Board from the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group.

Our recommendations were announced at a press conference held Cathedral Park.

Below is the prepared comments made at the press conference (actual comments varied):

Big corporations can afford to pay for Willamette Superfund cleanup (OPINION)

As Published in the Sunday Oregonian:

By Jim Robison and Jackie Calder

Quake Could Threaten 90 Percent Of Oregon Fuel Supply

Story by Tony Schick at OPB:

Yumei engineer with Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, known as DOGAMI...“The risk here is extreme,” she said. After an earthquake, “within 10, 20 seconds, the sand will turn into a thick, sandy soup.”

And that would be bad.

Soil liquefaction, as it’s known to geologists, can exacerbate shaking and destroy roads, buildings and underground pipes. If that happens here in Portland, it could devastate supply lines for fuel, electricity and natural gas. It could also mean a major chemical spill into the Willamette River.

Dennis McLerran: Lower Willamette will be clean once again

Published at
Sept. 25, 2015

By Dennis McLerran

After more than 150 years of heavy industrial activity, expansive growth and world-changing innovations, the Portland area is on the verge of a transformational effort to restore the very river that drove so much of the region's economic success and cultural history.

Indeed, if it could be grown, processed, manufactured or repaired, it was going to happen along the Willamette. And that same "get it done" attitude was resurrected in the '60s and '70s when former Gov. Tom McCall drove the fight to clean up the Willamette, which had caused public health authorities to ban people from its waters.

The governor rallied public opinion and the state Legislature to create the Department of Environmental Quality – and to give it teeth. Over time, the pollution insults slowed, and by the 1980s, water quality improvement in the Willamette was heralded as one of the great success stories of the nascent environmental movement.

Despite these efforts, decades of heavy industrial use and the millions of people living in the watershed continued to pollute the river. Today, the bottom and banks of the Lower Willamette within Portland Harbor remain contaminated with heavy metals, PCBs, hydrocarbons, dioxins and pesticides.

In some areas of Portland Harbor resident fish and shellfish aren't safe to eat, and direct contact with sediment can pose a risk to people. Despite health agency warnings, people continue to eat fish and shellfish from the river, putting themselves and their families at risk.

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