CAG Board Members
Michael Pouncil, Chair
Scott Burr, Tech Advisor
Caleb Shaffer, EPA
Laura Knudson, EPA
Number of Participants: 39
This meeting is recorded.
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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.
Courtney Johnson is Executive Director and Staff Attorney at Crag Law Center, an environmental law non-profit organization based out of Portland, Oregon. Courtney represents the Nez Perce Tribe on the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council.
Jen Kassakian is a Senior Associate with Industrial Economics, Incorporated (IEc). IEc is a consulting firm that provides technical and strategic support to the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council. Jen specializes in natural resource damage assessments and habitat equivalency analysis, among other topics.
Lauren Senkyr is a Habitat Restoration Specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center. Lauren leads the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council’s restoration committee. Lauren has been working on Portland Harbor restoration planning and community outreach since 2008.
Office: (503) 231-2110
Mobile: (503) 347-0848
History of Portland Harbor. 10,000 years, has served people, fish, wildlife, Mid-1800’s more new settlers arrived, dramatically changing the landscape. River was contaminated by industry, sewage. Some of this contam is still persisting. EPA in 2000 delared W River superfund site. Fish consumption advisory in place. We eval how natural resources have been injured, hoping to restore natural resources and compensate those affected. PCBs, Dioxins, Furans, Heavy metals, DDT, PAHs.
The Tribal Council published an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) in 2013. Integrative Habitat Restoration. Laid out a framework for implementation. Identified areas of focus. Ecological Restoration Portfolio: community-based process to identifity restoration projects, 60 projects considered. Screened these now down to 44 projects.
Progress: Alder Creek (Sauvie Island), Linnton Plywood Site (26 acres), PGE Harborton (53 acres), Rinearson Creek Natural Area (33 acres in Gladstone).
- Monitoring and Adaptive Management:
Parameters are monitored during a 10-20-year period, with performance standards and expectations.
- Legal Protection of Habitat
- Habitat Restoration and Recreation
- Long-term Stewardship
- Financial Assurances
- Habitat Equivalency Analysis – Pre-restoration vs Post-restoration
- Discounting (Ensure that the public is compensated for resource losses).
- Credit Release Schedules
- Credit tracking in RIBITS (Regulatory In-Lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System)
What comes next:
Continued oversight of restoration banks
Restoration pause in effect for any new habitat projects
Long-term stewardship planning
Hope to announce first phase 2 settlements soon
Recreation project planning
Improvements to PHNRTC website and administrative record
Tribal Council representatives presented poll questions to participants:
- Poll Question:
Share some words that describe your hopes for the future of the Lower Willamette River.
Responses: Access; Functioning Habitat and migration corridor; Protect human health and the environment; Encourage jobs and clean energy industries; Both public access and support for salmon moving through the lower river; clean, healthy fish; clean, healthy fish; Side-by-Side Comparison of Two Calculations to Derive DSAYs Using Different Logic Theory;
Logic Testing for Portland Harbor Mitigation and Conservation Bank Credits and Debits (DSAYs).
- Poll Question:
Are there other habitat restoration projects that have been implemented in urban river areas that you think are good examples for us to learn from?
Responses: Duwamish west channel under Spokane Street Bridge by City of Seattle; Duwamish west channel under Spokane Street Bridge by City of Seattle; I think we’d love to see smaller projects and some log rafts like in the slough riparian zones all along the river; We like postage stamps too; The Mendenall River in Juneau was reopened to the spawning beds in front of the glacier and designed to support public viewing; How is restoration banking different from mitigation banking and why is it preferred; How about some more projects to daylight some more creeks on the west side of the Willamette( other than Doannes creek because of its contaminents.
- Poll Question:
Are you interested in learning more about each of these projects? If so, what kinds of outreach would you be most likely to engage with?
Responses: Site Visits; Tour; Maybe someone would like to do a movie; GIS story map and tours.
- Poll Question:
What kind of information are you most interested in having easy access to about these projects?
Responses: Monitoring reports; Monitoring reports; How the habitat has changed over a period time, specifically over shorter periods of time…; provide access and out reach to impacted community about those DSAY’s that have been limited and awarded and the reasons why.
- Poll Question:
What sites, projects, or parks in Portland do you think are good examples of aquatic habitat conservation co-existing with recreational use?
Responses: Smith-Bybee Complex, Oaks Bottom with caveats about legacy landfills; Poll Q#2 Urban Rivers – Downtown Richmond Virginia- James River; Radio Towers Site for Turtles ++; Radio Towers Site for Turtles ++; Most of the Linnton site does not help salmon as the PGE and Alder Creek do.
- Poll Question:
Would you be interested in follow up presentations or discussions on any of these topics?
Responses: HEA Deeper; Project Valuation, Credit release schedules, Long-term stewardship.
Q: If all of the damage is in the harbor, why isn’t the lower river made whole in remediation?
A: Distinction between cleanup and restoration and time-element. Remediation goal is to clean up the harbor. This looks at present conditions, risks, cleaning it up. Natural resource dmage assessment, that site damaged a long time ago, NRDA is trying to compensate for the history of lost services by providing that amount of services into the future.
Q: I am concerned about the Mill Office at the Linnton site. After indicating that the community could be the owners of the property, RestorCap sold it to a private party, who immediately proved to be a bad neighbor by trees down on the property without a permit. The property has now been put up for sale. My concern is that a buyer will not protect the daylighted creek on the property since it enters directly into the restoration site. Are there any controls that the council has that can protect that property so that a polluting industry is not located on that property and the creek is protected.
A: That portion is not part of the restoration project for the Trustee Council. We don’t have control over what the present or future owner will do. There are penalties for improper actions.
Q: Repair in a site like Linnton has to be respectful to the historic neighborhood. The project was hostile to the community and so it shard to feel that credit was earned. No mammals can reach the habitat because of so much fencing. There were more animals before. The salmon area is blocked by a sand deposit. The signs seem very disturbing. I mentioned this and nothing was done. Also we need clear information about the future of the site.
A: Site work was designed to allow for salmon habitat on this site. Juvenile salmon use this site in the winter season, so under high water conditions there’s better aquatic habitat than during summer drought. Re, is fencing blocking animals: saw deer and beaver activity recently. Re, sand deposit: looking into how to manage this area for action in the near future. Re, signs: the signs along the trail were required by the state historic preservation office to mitigate for the fact that the old mill building was removed and was an historic site. They are open to modifying the signs. Re, clear information about the future of the site: The Habitat Development Plan, Long-term Stewardship Plan would be a place to go for information on Tribal Council Administration website.
Q: 50% of the credits released based on administrative records . . . seems a bit premature vs field trajectory trends?
A: Balancing financial upfront costs of projects vs ability to sell the credits for years to come…needed an incentive for developers. Deed restriction: this property is legally protected for habitat.
Q: How much money is available to use credits to develop projects? Can you run out of money?
A: The numbers in the injury assessment is in negotiation and confidential. Before a settlement there will be opportunity for public comment. Credits are on spec, hoping the compensation will reward them. This gets a lot of restoration done in advance of projects. The Trustee Council has no financial interest in these projects.
Q: Are you recording conservation easements in the National Conservation Easement Database?
A: I don’t know the answer to that question. Not recorded so far, maybe in the future. We’ll consider this.
Q: How/when do you see the other approximately 40 Ecological Restoration Projects from the portfolio being implemented – both inside this NRDA process and outside? Having a functioning migration corridor requires a network of closely spaced stepping stones of habitat all the way through the Harbor.
A: It was never our intention that all 44 projects could be implemented. But there are other means by which other projects can happen, are happening.
Q: Outside of the Trustee Council, how else can communities motivate PRPs to provide habitat?
A: Some public entities involved have ways of implementing, state, city. For more private entities, I’ve heard about some companies partnering with the watershed council, etc. Planting butterfly gardens, etc.
Q: It seems that every inch of the river is not friendly to every species so why is any particular site required to be a good place for everything?
A: There will be some sites that aren’t good for, example: lamprey. Trying to design the projects to benefit as many species as possible. Looking at species that have been injured. This is a relatively new and challenging discipline.
Comment: The letter from the Trustees Council will be posted on the CAG website. The letter from the PHCAG that was written to the Trustees Council with a list of question is posted on the site now. It can be found here:
Comment: The mill office is still in RestorCap’s name and many large trees were cut down. A beaver dam was destroyed and the creek is bulldozed. RestorCap is still bulldozing the creek that comes out of this site. It is now a camp and fires are being made next to oil tanks.
Q: With people exclusion a good thing for some of these sites why is not limited, controlled use not exceptable? When some plants do not easily survive on a site is it natural to artificially encourage these plants to grow ?
A: Re, exclusion: Good question. some tribal members would like to have limited access for cultural uses. Challenging. Re, plants: there might be some plants that struggle and can’t establish. We’ll study to see which plants can survive and thrive.
Comment: I would offer that goals and objectives should be specific to the opportunities and constraints at each site.
Q: At the North end of the channel there is a large area of contaminated underwater property and to control the release of contamination, DEQ and the company involved are planning to cover the area. The process did not involve the local government and it removes from the shore line area any development of commercialization and removes the opportunity to restore the natural fish migration routes, is this acceptable? Salmon are avoiding the poisoned area. Simply covering over this isn’t the answer. Part of this area is landslide, the other part is liquefaction. How do you truly inspect this for total safety of the river?
A: follow the standard cleanup process, which goes into a document for public comment. This will be an opportunity for comment from the community and they will be considered.
Comment: RestorCap is working to provide more photos and information on the restoration project. You can currently view information on our website. We’ll be working to update regularly and are happy to share information about the ongoing restoration of the site. https://www.restorcap.com/linnton-mitigation/
Q: A fish kill in the superfund area, 6,7 years ago, salmon couldn’t get upstream in the summer. EIS identified salmon as a priority species to support. How will salmon be able to get to the restoration sites upriver?
A: NOAA fisheries has a larger role in the recovery of endangered salmon. Strategy for salmon recovery goes beyond what the Trustee Council can do. Regulatory and voluntary habitat protection and restoration throughout the Willamette basin.
Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our mailing address is:
Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344
Portland, OR 97203
Notes taken by Jane Terzis