CAG General Meeting October 13, 2021


CAG Board Members

Michael Pouncil, Chair

Doug Larson

Sarah Taylor


Scott Burr, Tech Advisor, Co-Host

Caleb Shaffer, EPA Superfund Project Manager


Number of Participants: 31

This meeting is recorded.


The upper Willamette River and the ecosystem are threatened by failed measures. It’s time for change, something new and different, please click on the editorial links below and explore some of the new solutions to rescue our river and its ecosystems.

The Registered Guard 

Earth Law Center

Portland Harbor CAG YouTube page. “Subscribe here” and at the bottom of the email. Now you have access to our monthly virtual meetings, forums, and presentations.  


Sarah Taylor: Land Acknowledgement (summary): Tribes will heal only when we understand the harms done and we promise to continue to learn and to honor, respect and take care of this watershed, all that it offers to all living beings.


Michael Pouncil: Introductions, invites participants to announce upcoming events.

Thank-you to City of Portland, DEQ and the Portland community for denying the Zenith permit.



Guest Speakers:


Marj Hogan, representing the Willamette River Advocacy Group (WRAG)



Sarah Pearlman, Candidate, Masters of Urban and Regional Planning 2022, Portland State University, presenting a summers long project of EJ (Environmental Justice) Score Card for Portland’s neighborhoods.


Marj Hogan Presentation:

Board member of WRAG (Willamette River Advocacy Group), formed in 2017, to secure technical assistance after the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup process.


We’ve hired a technical advisor, Marcus Griswold, working on the TAG project grant to assist community members in participation in superfund cleanup decision making.


Laura Feldman, Board Member WRAG:

Explains why WRAG needs a tech advisor. Marcus has a wide experience in superfund cleanup and experience in engaging with community.


Q&A for Marj Hogan and Laura Feldman

Q: What information are you currently focused on deciphering?

A: We have focused on two community meetings. The documents we have are based on recent decisions. Marcus will work on providing information and getting more people involved in the process.


Q: Thanks to Laura Knudson I found a link to the five-year review of the McCormick & Baxter site. It would be useful to have Marcus read this material and give us some feedback. There are differences between what the superfund is doing and what was done at McCormick & Baxter.

A: Laura Knudson: Please put this in writing to me at EPA.


Q: How to make community voices heard in the Willamette Cove process?

A: There’s a Willamette Cove work meeting coming up. Portland Harbor Community Coalition is taking the lead on this. Meeting is on October 19. Contact

Willamette Cove Work group meeting:


Q: Does WRAG need to stay politically neutral?

A: Carefully administering the grant. Advocating for a clean river.


Q: CAG would like to be involved, to help WRAG, including a future presentation to CAG by Marcus.

A: WRAG would welcome that involvement and we’ll see when we can schedule Marcus to present.


Sarah Pearlman Presentation:

Environmental Justice Scorecard for Portland Neighborhoods. Interned with CAG this summer. Highlighting the effects of uneven development in specific communities.

Sarah’s email:


  • NW Portland: fuel tanks on the river on the Cascadia subduction zone, adjacent to neighborhoods, along with other industrial pollutants in the river over many years.
  • SW Portland: fewer environmental injustices. High income neighborhoods, racially exclusive.
  • N Portland: situated along the superfund site, used to belong to indigenous tribes (Cathedral Park, St Johns). Contamination affects residents and subsistence fishing. PCB’s present a health and safety risk to all members of the community.
  • NE Portland: Albina razed to make way for construction, freeway.
  • Central NE Portland: Cully. annexed later than most Portland neighborhoods. Developed during WW2. Developed a park on land that had been a landfill. Indigenous gathering garden has been established.
  • E Portland: annexed in the 1980s. Not enough green canopy, heat bounces off asphalt, The hottest temperatures in Portland in 2021 were recorded in Lents.
  • SE Portland: not a robust green canopy, also experienced extreme heat this summer.


Implication: How can we shift to create more equitable neighborhoods?


Q&A for Sarah Pearlman

Q: What are your thoughts about life expectancy? The Duwamish superfund site (Seattle) has a 13-year lower life expectancy than other neighborhoods in Seattle. We haven’t done a real health study here.

A: Good point. I’m interested in looking into this and I’ll report back to you.


Q: 1. Quantification of some of the parameters: this seems to be the essence of your work. How to you quantify this? 2. If you were to do this again what would you change?

A: 1. A lot of this information comes from existing data, asthma rates, tree canopy – I looked at where extremes exist. 2.I’d like to have better resources in the future.


Q: Love the maps. Most Portland commissioners live in the easiest places to live. Commissioner Mingus Mapps (Water Bureau and BES), has proposed that we get rid of that form of government and change to a city manager system with geographical representation rather than at-large representation.

A: Excited to follow how that goes.


Q: Did you incorporate US Census data? Life expectancy data would be useful.

A: I did not but that makes sense.


Q: Interesting how certain communities layer environmental injustices one on top of another. Was any of this surprising?

A: Generally, those neighborhoods that have suffered still feel the effects. Layers upon layers of problems.


Q: The reason for the layering on some neighborhoods have, to some degree, to do with the stories we tell in environmentally distressed areas, if the narrative changed about these communities would the attitude change?

A: Sarah Taylor: not long ago, people in NW Portland, near Linnton, were called the Swamp Kids. Lents was called Felony Flats. Name calling has been a problem and has made those areas seem more expendable.


Comment: Impacted neighborhoods seems to border the superfund site, the cheapest land to live in is always in the worst environmental situation.


Comment: Tree canopy is crucial for a city.


Comment: In wildlife science there is a concept of ‘non-lethal’ cumulative effects that can contribute to declined survival of individuals in populations.


Comment: Neighbors for Clean Air has presentations on asthma etc and diesel particulates and schools and neighborhoods. RRs have lots of diesel.






Mary Kelley: Cleaner Air Oregon meeting 10/26/21


Laura Knudson:

  • Cathedral Park Project Area Working Group – will be sending out an email welcoming interest in joining this working group. EPA is sampling the area now. Next meeting is scheduled for Oct 27.
  • We did finish the beach sampling, don’t have results yet. Will do river sampling next week.
  • EPA Community Coffee Chat: next is Oct 22, 12-1pm with remedial project managers.
  • We are working on the Portland Harbor Story Map.
  • If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns about the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, please contact Laura Knudsen (, 206-553-1838)or visit EPA’s Portland Harbor Superfund Site webpage at



Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224,

Portland Harbor CAG
Portland Harbor CAG YouTube 



Notes taken by Jane Terzis