CAG Board Members
Michael Pouncil, Chair
This meeting has been recorded and took place virtually and on location at the Green Anchors Industrial Park office.
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.
Tonight we introduced Skeo, who will be assisting EPA to gather information from key community partners, property owners, and the City Of Portland. The purpose of the information gathering is to better understand the range of future goals and considerations about Portland Harbor Superfund. Skeo’s mission: Excellence and innovation in pursuit of environmental stewardship, social equity and economic opportunity.
Caleb Shaffer, EPA
Contact info is Shaffer.firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-307-3076
Skeo Solutions: Alisa Wilson, Senior designer and facilitator
Contracted through EPA to superfund redevelopment program. In terms of all types of future use of the (Superfund) site.
- Bring stakeholders to the table,
- Understand community land use goals, clarify cleanup goals, process and constraints.
- Integrate land use goals into the cleanup process as feasible.
- Identify long-term stewardship options.
- Owner and prospective purchaser assistance
- Situation Assessment
- Reuse Assessment
- Reuse Plan/Community Visioning
- Community Engagement
- Fact Sheets/Communication Tools
- Institutional Control Support
- Gather info about future use goals and cleanup considerations for a portion of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site between green anchors and Willamette Cove.
- Related plans and local initiatives
- Land use and environmental context
- Range of future use goals and considerations
Outcome: document summarizing information gathered including preliminary future use goals, land use context, local initiatives, reuse considerations and any recommendations for additional SRP reuse support.
- What are the range of future use interests for this portion of the site?
- What are the key considerations or limitations to future use?
- What additional SRP tools or support would be helpful?
Next Steps: continue to gather information, develop draft and final reuse situation assessment.
Q: Why was the interest initially limited to Willamette Cove and Cathedral Park? Does this have to do with negotiations with PRP?
A: When Skeo does these assessments it usually for a site that’s relatively small. It made sense to focus on an area with greatest potential, Green Anchors to Willamette Cove. Could broaden the focus area.
Q: Does SKEO factor the public fund investment losses incurred after the inevitable Cascadia earthquake results in massive fuel tank collapses into the north reach? Geology will likely nullify such investments, right?
A: We’re not charged with looking at earthquake scenarios as part of reuse.
Q: Economic development always has trouble defining intangibles. Hard to put a cost on these, so the equation gets unbalanced. How do you address this issue? The word redevelopment suggests an economic model. I’d like people to pay attention to this.
A: How to make the community aware of the opportunities. This phase will not design that, but will identify the need for that. EPA Redevelopment Program will be a way to address this. The EPA program has Redevelopment in the title but our assessment considers any types of uses, including public, habitat, and industrial development. “Usable” could be habitat, public open space, big box commercial. All options are considered. What are the barriers and how can EPA assist in navigating them?
Q: EPA has been subject to a yo-yo affect (in Washington DC), historically underfunding some projects. Is the superfund project changing, the parameter of what you have to work with?
A: EPA: We’re implementing the ROD and this is a statutory program. Not subject to change.
Q: What additional SRP (Superfund Redevelopment Program) tools or support would be helpful?
A: Maps, process definition, EPA’s Prospective Purchaser Agreement, SKEO working closely with EPA, interactive format, timetable, story maps.
Q: Often with projects with an official process, the structure of the agency dictates how the community can engage with them. A lot of different interests, some are contradictory. You could create synergistic interests, so that these are self-reinforcing. How you approach the problem that gives community the opportunity to engage. If the process is hidden, not great. How can we get more engaged with creating active solutions that satisfies the community?
A: You’re asking for transparency and real engagement with problem-solving. This is the type of information that is helpful to gather at this point.
Q: Is there a timeline for comments and questions? Is there a way to have questions answered? What’s the process to deliver public thoughts.
A: This first phase is info gathering, we don’t necessarily respond to those. We have meetings set up next week with folks hoping to include everyone. SKEO does has a timeframe. We want to identify the range of related initiatives considered and what are the opportunities for additional support. There are opportunities for engagement. The final recommendations will be set into a public document.
Q: Are you juggling a lot of contracts at the same time, or focusing specifically on this superfund?
A: We support all of EPA’s regions, so yes, we have other projects ongoing. We staff each of these appropriately.
I’m interested in the Comprehensive Plan, North Reach. We don’t have a plan. Important for Portland to move forward with a North Reach Plan. A lot of North Portland is zoned heavy industrial, I believe this is a civil right violation. That definition is a problem. I encourage you to look and please make a map of the North Reach. Also, a map of the FEMA Flood Plain. The city is out of compliance. We also need a liquefaction zone map and a map of what is public land.
Please take the time to look at Voices on the Lower Willamette exhibition, the history of this area is crucial to understanding the issues here.
Please consider as a community input that investing in remediation which for sure will be overcome by worse than original pollution is not the best idea for Federal funds, unless I missed something. Sort of a guaranteed loss. How do you ignore 600 tanks built on sand?
If SKEO is a contractor, perhaps a new work order is needed, since geology and fuel tanks will nullify any benefits SKEO postulated so far.
If we engage in problem solving it will need to be both scientific and include feelings and emotions.
I’ve been aware of community members concerns about what goes into the cleanup, that we put a lot of money to clean this up, some PRPs no longer exist. There’s a cap on how much EPA can charge for land that is purchased, no matter what condition it’s in. the cap will affect the market value, thus affecting EPA’s return on money spent. This is a big concern.
The more we talk about public benefit, the more likely we’ll get what we want.
Please note: the fact that Portland has the most vulnerable fuel storage infrastructure in the US is not generally known.
Producer Barbara Bernstein is a musician, composer, performance artist and radio producer. Besides her recent documentary Once a Braided River, her award-winning radio documentaries, internationally broadcast on public radio stations, include two pieces about the struggle to stop the Pacific Northwest from becoming a fossil fuel export hub: Holding the Thin Green Line and Sacrifice Zones; Fighting Goliath (the turbulent growth of tar sands development); Sculpted By Fire (the role of fire in shaping western forests and sustaining healthy forest ecosystems); Salmonlands (the cultural significance of diminishing salmon runs in the Northwest) and Rivers That Were (the industrialization of the Colorado and Columbia Rivers). You can hear more of her work at the link below http://www.mediaprojectonline.org/radio/
Upcoming Events and News on the River
8th Vanport Mosaic Festival – May 18th to May 29th.
2023 is the 75th anniversary of the Vanport flood. The opportunity to honor lived experience is long overdue, especially in light of the Covid pandemic as well as the ongoing devastating impact of climate change, this years festival offers a timely opportunity to reflect on the state of emergency preparedness of our city, particularly on how disasters often replicate and deepen social inequalities.
This year’s festival will offer in-person, virtual, and self-paced memory activism opportunities to Remember, Repair, Reclaim, and Re-image our collective story. Contact information here and below.
Curated by Story Midwife Laura Lo Forti
email@example.com – 510.717.2441
***May 28th – Talking/Tour of Guilds Lake Housing with Vanport Mosaic, more details to come in May’s Portland Harbor CAG announcement.
*Friday, April 28 at 12pm Pacific*
Portland Harbor Virtual Casual Community Coffee Chat
Based on previous feedback from community members, EPA heard that it would be good to have some informal discussion time among community members, EPA, and DEQ technical folks (technical staff will rotate each quarterly coffee chat) who work on the Portland Harbor Superfund Site so that everyone may become better acquainted & learn more about who does what! More information is below!
Audience: Community members!
How do I Join the April 28th Virtual Casual Community Coffee Chat? Please contact Laura Knudsen via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone/text (206-643-4299) for the remote meeting information.
*Saturday, May 13 – RSVP Requested* River’s Lament Outdoor Walk:
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, University of Portland, EcoFaith Recovery, and the Portland Harbor Collaborative Group are partnering to host an in-person River’s Lament outdoor walk.
Date: Saturday, May 13
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm (Pacific)
Location: Meet-up location is on a footpath at the University of Portland, near the Chiles Center. The pin for the exact meetup location can be found here.
Length/Mobility: The walk is approximately one mile in length and requires walking on some non-paved surfaces and standing for the full two hours. If you have mobility concerns, please let us know when you RSVP and we will provide a modified path.
RSVP: If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to email@example.com or via phone to 206-458-5710.
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The Voices of the Lower Willamette exhibit is currently at the Lloyd center. Despite floods and broken water pipes, the exhibit survived and is now at its new location at Lloyd Center in the former Ann Taylor Loft location. This is on the second-floor south-west of the ice-skating rink. The exhibit looks wonderful there and many people are stopping to learn about the area. We are able to host educational experiences in the store, which is a great opportunity. You can visit the exhibit while supporting Lloyd Center’s many small businesses. It’s a great place to walk on rainy days! Open: the hours of the Lloyd Center Mall. The exhibit is on the main floor of Lloyd Center Mall across from the “closed” Made In Oregon store and Its inside the “former” Anne Taylor’s Loft store.
Sarah Taylor (503) 805-4680 or
Jan Zuckerman (503) 481-7033 for more information
Rumble on the River Community Forum 4
Click this link for the Rumble on the River #4 What’s Up With Zenith Energy & the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub in Portland Harbor. We had a great turn out there the Rumble, please share and join the next Rumble that will be announce in this announcement in the near future.
Coffee Chat with Laura Knudson
Portland Harbor Virtual Casual Community Coffee Chat with EPA (Friday, April 28 from 12-1pm Pacific)
or phone/text (206-643-4299)
Rumble on the River # 5 Video- CEI Energy Hub & Zenith Energy. Presented at the 41st Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene
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