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Portland Harbor Trustees Propose Innovative Restoration Banks to Help Resources Recover from Pollution

 AUGUST 17, 2020 — NOAA, and the state, federal, and Tribal Trustees working on restoring habitat and resources impacted by the Portland Harbor hazardous waste site in Oregon have released a Draft Supplemental Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for public comment.  

Body of water with trees, buildings along banks.
Image credit: NOAA.

This draft plan calls for the purchase of restoration “credits” from third party restoration projects to help make up for pollution impacts in the area. This is supplementing a final programmatic restoration plan released in 2017. The Public comment period is open for 30 days through September 14, 2020, and the Trustees are hosting a public webinar on September 1, 2020 to present the plan and take questions. 

History of the Site, and Draft Supplemental Plan

Since the early 1900s, many facilities have released oil, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides, and other hazardous substances into Portland Harbor. This highly industrialized area of the Willamette River continues to serve as a hub for the commercial shipping industry. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the area a Superfund site(link is external) in 2000.

The draft supplemental plan describes innovative approaches to restore habitat and resources and help the area recover from decades of pollution. In this case, the Trustee Council proposes to purchase restoration credits from existing restoration projects to help make up for those impacts.  

Credits may come from five restoration banking projects that were submitted in response to a January 2020 request for proposals:

  • Alder Creek Restoration Project - This project restored and enhanced 52 acres to improve habitat at a former industrial site.
  • Harborton Habitat Development Project - This project will restore tributary and off-channel habitat across 55 acres of the Portland General Electric Harborton Substation property.
  • Linnton Mill Restoration Site - This project restored 27 acres of an industrial site into a landscape with rehabilitated riparian and upland habitat, new off-channel habitat, and enhanced shallow-water and active channel margin habitats.
  • Miller Creek Restoration Project - This project will reconnect Miller Creek to Multnomah Channel to enhance 13 acres of habitat near the confluence of the Multnomah Channel and the Willamette River. 
  • Rinearson Natural Area -This project restored 33 acres of floodplain and channel habitat, including improving fish passage at a former dam.
  • Funding for the purchase of restoration credits from these projects will come from settlement and bankruptcy funds from some of the companies responsible for hazardous waste getting into the environment in Portland Harbor. 

Public Comment and Webinar

Please send your written comments on the plan no later than September 14, 2020 to: 

By email to: portlandharbor.nrda@gmail.com

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Last updated Saturday, August 22, 2020 9:52am PDT