Michael Pouncil paddles along a stretch of the Willamette River inside the Portland Harbor Superfund site where industry dominates the riverfront.
Stephani Gordon / OPB
Michael Pouncil, who chairs the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group, said as more people pile into the Willamette and fight over recreation space, low income communities and people of color have been left out.
North Portland is a more diverse neighborhood with more pockets of poverty. It’s also a place where industry dominates the waterfront and contaminated beaches still need to be cleaned up. Pouncil is pushing for a cleanup at Willamette Cove, which he said could be a great place for people in North Portland to get into the river.
“This is about equity,” he said. “Southeast and Southwest, there are many spaces where people can get into the river now. I understand that they may have their issues with, you know, overcrowding. But we have no access to the river here.”
Pouncil says more cleanups and more access points could offer more space for everyone.