CAG Board Members
Michael Pouncil, Chair
Scott Burr, Tech Advisor
Caleb Shaffer, EPA
Laura Knudson, EPA
Number of Participants: 43
This meeting is recorded.
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): The Portland Metro area rests on traditional Native sites. We thank the original caretakers of this land, acknowledge the systemic racism involved in the cleanup of the Willamette River. 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.
Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service, Monday January 15, at Green Anchors from 11:30 to 1:30. We will learn about mason bees and make a mason bee house. Bring empty tin cans and toilet paper rolls if you can. Family Friendly Service Project. Fun to see Green Anchors too!
Laura Knudson: EPA Draft Environmental Justice Action Plan for EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs:
See below for additional upcoming events.
Michael Pouncil: Introductions, welcomeAcknowledgment of Sidney Poitier’s passing and influence.
John Marshall presented about the transparency, accountability, and verifiability of mitigation bank credit-debit and performance standard data records for the Portland Harbor mitigation banks. This, of course, is of paramount importance if we are to be able to trust that the Portland Harbor Superfund clean-up is meeting stakeholder expectations. John is actively talking to stakeholders and exploring ideas for improvement.
John has been working in natural resource management for over 25-years for local government, state, and federal agencies and nearly 10-years before that as an environmental educator in state parks, national parks, and outdoor schools. He represented the US Fish and Wildlife Service for over 10-years on the Interagency Review Team for Oregon and SW Washington mitigation and conservation banks. He holds at least three college degrees.
John shares his concerns about the transparency, accountability, and verifiability of mitigation bank credit-debit and performance standard data records for the Portland Harbor mitigation banks. This, of course, is of paramount importance if we are to be able to trust that the Portland Harbor Superfund clean-up is meeting stakeholder expectations. John is actively talking to stakeholders and exploring ideas for improvement.
Here is a link to John’s presentation: Portland Harbor Mitigation Banks – Questions on Credit Debits and Performance Standards
Susan Bladholm, Frog Ferry
Frog Ferry YouTube- https://youtu.be/QqJERqdkMfY
Susan Bladholm is a transportation enthusiast and is a life-long Portlander who would like to foster a greater appreciation for the value of our riverways. Susan gave us an update on the pilot program for Frog Ferry on in 2022
John Marshall Presentation:
Portland harbor Mitigation Bank Accounting – a way to offset adverse impacts to environmental resources.
RIBITS: Regulatory In-lieu-Fee and Banking Information Tracking System
Goals & Objectives: Accountability, Transparency, Accessibility, Consistency, Verifiability, Independent Tracking, Independent Testing.
Divided into Credits & Debits; and Performance Status for Vegetation.
Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA), National Marine Fisheries Service (USFWS), are evaluating habitat that have been damaged by hazardous materials using a scoring system. Example: focus on chinook salmon, birds and vegetation suitability requirements. These measures are compromised – but they help in resource planning, in ranking threatened areas, and in providing a benchmark for performance standards. This is a work in progress. The high end of the range of mitigation bank credits could exceed 65 million dollars, which makes PRP’s complaints of the expense of cleanup questionable.
Service areas stretch from mile 11 to Sauvie Island.
Cyber repositories folders are empty for the Portland Harbor Mitigation and Conservation Banks.
We are asking EPA to add this information to their tracking system, to add a graphical user interface to their database, and to develop a geodatabase.
If all of this is done without transparency, it can be misused and could become a danger to recovery.
Q&A for John Marshall
Q: Can we know which areas have how many credits?
Q: Would RIBITS tell me if the Linnton Mill Remediation site passed performance standards? Does the Mitigation Bank release credits for problematic remediation sites like Linnton?
A: No, RIBITS will not tell us that. None of these monitoring is in the database. We are asking the Trustee Council to put this information into RIBITS. The process isn’t transparent, but we do know that credits are being released and sold. We assume that they’re meeting performance standards but we have no demonstrated evidence.
Q: Is there anything community members can do to help?
A: Yes. Making all of this known to the Trustee Council and have them take it seriously. How? We need to have a discussion about this to move forward as a community.
Q: Can you send something to PHCAG re a letter writing campaign information?
A: Yes, I’ll put that together.
Q: Are any of the nonprofit environmental groups involved putting pressure with letterhead and strategy?
A: Not to my knowledge. My impression is that a lot of these private nonprofits have come up against a brick wall and are feeling frustrated. There might also be some intimidation due to complex technical information.
Susan Bladholm Presentation:
Frog Ferry. We have hit some roadblocks.
The Infrastructure/Jobs Act will provide $250 million allocated just for ferries. We, as a nonprofit, can’t apply for it. It needs to come from the City, PBOT, ODOT, Portland Harbor, Metro or a tribe. Metro has been challenging to work with. They won’t go after a federal grant. We’re now lobbying the City of Portland, waiting to meet with Mayor Wheeler and Dan Ryan. We could use help in people reaching out to city council members, saying we want to get behind the Frog Ferry, and why. We propose starting with one pilot vessel from Cathedral Park to downtown, eventually to OHSU. Our total projection for the 3-year project is $9.7 million. We are waiting for the results of oil sediment audits at the Cathedral Park boat ramp and should have some results this spring. Portland Parks suggested that they want to move the loading area to the south fishing dock. Would the community be amenable to moving the ferry stop there? This boat ramp gets a lot of use from recreational boaters. Concerns about contamination there. The dock would need to be improved. We eventually want to have a permanent dock at Green Anchors. We need a push from the community to start lobbying for this ferry pilot project.
Q&A for Susan Bladholm
Q: It would help if you write a sample for people and who to send it to.
A: Yes, I’ll do that. Will send to Michael to share.
Q: Susan, what is the status of the federal grant application your group is trying for?
A: We applied for the current grant to the City. We’re waiting for a reply, delayed. Maybe late February/early March.
Q: The ODOT testimony you’re asking for, is that written, or do you want people to come and speak?
A: Typically, most is written.
Q: Having to move to the fishing pier seems strange and infuriating. Should we advocate for the boat launch?
A: Not as relevant a problem at this point. We need to start by talking with our EPA friends and see what the audit says, might not be a viable location.
Comment: There are many new apartment buildings at the Cathedral Park. This transportation will be very relevant to them.
Comment from Susan Bladholm: If anyone wants to get involved with putting together a project for a few electrified trolleys to pick people up in the StJ and CP neighborhoods to take passengers to and from the ferry, please reach out to me. We would like to bring the Ryd program (piloted in Vancouver, WA) to this project.
Q: Susan, are there any plans for transportation on the west side of river? Particularly to alleviate some of the hwy30 traffic and transportation to some of the river side industries for employees
A: There are 10 proposed stops. We’re working with the greatest demand and connectivity. How people get to and from the dock is critical. We don’t have plans for the opposite side (hwy30 side) of the river. We’re focused on commuters at this point.
Comment from Julie Weis, representing the Siletz Tribe to the Trustee Council. We have utmost respect for CAG and we apologize if you have come to see us as less than transparent. We take these concerns seriously. We know that you care, are interested and we will continue to reach out to answer a lot of the questions you’ve posed to us.
***News on the River***
- Oregon congressman wants US military held accountable for contaminated sites, including Portland Harbor
*Now Available!* EPA Portland Harbor StoryMap – An interactive & living tool
- Willamette River Crossing Project Overview 2022
- Thursday, Jan 27 (4-5pm), Cathedral Park Project Area Virtual Working Group: The next meeting of the Cathedral Park Project Area Working Group (one of the working groups of the Portland Harbor Collaborative) will occur via Zoom on Wednesday, January 27 from 4-5pm. The focus for this working group is to discuss community education and engagement opportunities for EPA’s initial sampling work at the Cathedral Park Project Area. If you would like to join the Cathedral Park Project Area Working Group or have other questions, please contact Laura Knudsen (firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text 206-643-4299).
- Friday, Jan 28 (12-1pm), Portland Harbor Virtual Casual Community Coffee Chat (focus on DEQ): Please contact Laura Knudsen (email@example.com, call/text 206-643-4299), EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, if you are a community member who is interested in attending this virtual chat or any future chats!
- Wednesday, February 2 (4:30-6pm, withoptional project overview at 4pm): The next meeting of the Willamette Cove Working Group (one of the working groups of the Portland Harbor Collaborative) will occur on Wednesday, February 2 from 4:30-6pm. An optional project overview for folks who may be new to the Willamette Cove space will occur at 4pm. If you would like to join the Willamette Cove Working Group or have other questions, please contact Jessica Terlikowski (Terlikowski@portlandoregon.gov, 503-865-6704).
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Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344
Portland, OR 97203
Notes taken by Jane Terzis