Tell Portland City Council That They Need to Take a Stand for Our River

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft cleanup plan which would leave 86 percent of the 10 mile long, 2,200 acre Portland Harbor Superfund Site contaminated for decades to come with PCBs, DDT, oil based contaminants and heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. However, the polluters responsible for the toxic contamination like Chevron, Northwest Natural, Gunderson, and Union Pacific Railroad still aren’t satisfied—they are fighting for a plan which would leave virtually the entire site contaminated.

Osprey, photo by Jim Cruce

Portland City Council is currently asking for community opinions on the EPA’s plan. We need strong community voices to tell council that we expect our local representatives to vigorously oppose the EPA’s plan. Similar local political opposition in Puget Sound resulted in a significantly improved cleanup plan for a Superfund Site on the Duwamish River. Our local elected officials need to stand up for our communities and our environment and tell the EPA that their draft plan would leave our communities at high risk and let polluters off the hook.

Call or email City Council and take a strong stand for our river and urge our elected officials to do the same.

Key messages:

  • City Council must take a strong stand on behalf of the community and the environment and tell EPA that their draft clean-up plan is weak and unacceptable.
  • The draft cleanup plan leaves far too much of the river contaminated for generations to come. We recommend that at least 1,000 acres of polluted sediment be removed from the river.
  • The draft cleanup plan relies too much on “monitored natural recovery,” a “do nothing” strategy that leaves pollution in the river in the hopes that it will either be covered over or flushed downstream.
  • The Cleanup Plan must result in the removal of the Fish Consumption Advisory so that eating fish from the Lower Willamette is just as safe as eating fish from anywhere else in the Willamette River System and this must occur within a 10-20 year time frame.
  • Creating a toxic waste disposal dump in our river is not acceptable—toxic dredged sediments must be taken to an appropriate landfill.
  • Entities with liability for the pollution must be held accountable and pay for a comprehensive cleanup that will protect the health of our communities, our environment and our wildlife.

Please call or write city council:

Commissioner Nick Fish: 503-823-3589 |
Commissioner Steve Novick: 503-823-4682 |
Commissioner Dan Saltzman: 503-823-4151 |
Commissioner Amanda Fritz: 503-823-3008 |
Mayor Charlie Hales: 503-823-4120 |
Council Clerk:

Click here for more information.

Activist Training

If you would like to learn more about this issue and how you can help ensure a safe and clean river for people and wildlife, Bird Alliance of Oregon will be hosting an activist training next Wednesday, June 29. We will focus on key messaging and how to effectively testify to decision makers to get your voice heard. This is going to be a difficult battle and this training will prepare you to be a lead advocate for OUR RIVER!

When: Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Bird Alliance of Oregon: 5151 NW Cornell Road
RSVP to Steph Taylor: