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 welcomed the Portland Harbor Natural Trustees Council here to give updates and receive communities input. The Trustees Council talked about restoration updates within the Lower Willamette River.
Announcement from Caleb Shaffer – EPA: The Willamette Cove remedial design is now under the management of EPA, which is committed to its completion.
Courtney Johnson is an attorney and Executive Director of the nonprofit Crag Law Center in Portland, Oregon. Since 2015, Courtney has represented the Nez Perce Tribe on the cleanup and restoration of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. As the Tribe’s representative, Courtney participates in trustee council restoration planning, oversight, and public outreach, as well as remedial-side technical coordination team efforts. She has worked with a wide variety of community groups to protect rivers and estuaries in the Pacific Northwest.
Lauren Senkyr is a Habitat Restoration Specialist with the NOAA Restoration Center. She manages funding and provides technical assistance to community-based habitat restoration projects across the Pacific Northwest, mainly focused on the recovery of threatened and endangered salmon. Lauren also works on multiple natural resource damage assessment cases across the region, including Portland Harbor. For the past 15 years, she has worked with NOAA and the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council on restoration planning, project identification, community engagement, and oversight of restoration banks. Ms. Senkyr holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from Lewis & Clark College and a master’s degree in environmental science and management from Portland State University.
Sign-up newsletter for The Portland Harbor Trustees Council https://www.fws.gov/portlandharbor/newsletter
The PHNRTC website https://www.fws.gov/portlandharbor/overview
Update on ecological restoration work and recreation planning.
History of Portland Harbor. The confluence of the two rivers has been crucial to indigenous peoples. In the mid-1800s settlers came in and dramatically changed the coastal landscape. EPA listed the site as superfund in 2000. The Trustee Council was formed in 2002.
Tribes: Grand Ronde, Nez Perce, Siletz, Umatilla, Warm Springs. The Yakima Nation is involved but is not on the Trustee Council.
State and Federal: NOAA, US DOI-FWD, ODFW.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment:
- Injury from contamination,
- Restoration of injured resources,
- Compensation from parties responsible.
Restoration must be balance with the injuries to the area.
Contaminants of Concern:
PCBs, DDT, PAHs, dioxins, furans, heavy metals
Potentially injured natural resources: fish, birds, mammals, water, sediments, invertebrates.
NRDA Restoration Planning:
- Community-based process to identify potential restoration projects
- Draft program restoration plan
- Final program restoration plan published
- Draft supplemental restoration plan
- Final supplemental restoration plan
- Planning for draft recreation restoration plan
Other Restoration Efforts
- OWEB NOAA Brants
NRDA Restoration Planning (special focus on chinook salmon)
- Integrated habitat approach
- Priority habitat types
- Geographic focus
- Adaptive management
NRDA Restoration Banks
- Portfolio projects
- Third-party implementation
- Permitting compliance (ESA, CWA, NHPA)
- Early restoration
- Larger projects
- Legal protection
- Financial assurances
- Trustee Council Oversight
Monitoring and Stewardship Framework
- Baseline Monitoring: Pre-construction, Existing habitat conditions, Reference conditions
- Implementation Monitoring (Year 0) As-built surveys, Performance criteria established
- Effectiveness Monitoring (Year 1-10) annual monitoring requirements, adaptive management
- Long-term Stewardship (Year 11)
NRDA Restoration Progress
- Alder Creek
52 acres, Construction 2014-2016, Wilding Inc, Year 8.
- Linnton Plywood Site
26 acres, Construction 2017-2019, RestorCap, Year 4.
- PGE-Harborton Wetlands
53 acres, Construction 2020, Portland General Electric, Year 3
- Rinearson Creek Natural Area
33 acres, Construction 2017-2018, Columbia Restoration Group, Year 5
Q: Salmon lay eggs in the fall, then gestation, why would they keep coming in the summer? Aren’t they all hatched by then? Are you saying that they’re hanging out where they were born then slowly begin their journey? Should some be coming in July-August?
A: Nature is wild, we see a lot of diversity. Salmon migration varies. But yes, a lot of salmon here in the fall, very few here in the summer. Also impacted by rain, snow melt. Having places where they can hug the shoreline is important.
Q: The Harborton site was an electrical substation, a lot of PCBs. Never heard about the cleanup of this site.
A: I’d have to go back to the report. There was a sampling plan. I’ll have to get back to you.
Q: You talked about restoration sites that weren’t under the control of the Trustee Council. Does the Council have access to the credits? Is there a money trail for this?
A: The four projects presented today are each managed by different companies, this is with Trustee Council oversight. Construction is managed by private companies. Credits are made available to companies that have liability. We track this with an online database. Restoration projects have been built with private capital. There are restrictions on what can happen to the site, they have to remain habitat restored.
Q: These sites are relatively new, particularly Linnton. Contractually, how do you look at the percentage of money that is to be used for redesign, how are you looking at this long term?
A: A set dollar amount is set aside prior to project construction, the amount varies per project, based on average construction costs. Credits are released according to a schedule.
Q: Will the PRPs have access to gaining credits through non-NRDA trustee sites the groups such as OWEB, NOAA Grants, Parks, Mitigation build and oversee?
A: No. In order to resolve liability, they would need to meet rigorous monitoring requirements. An option was published in 2020 where PRPs could bring requests to us for them to lead restoration. None have come to fruition.
Credit transactions at each bank are available for public viewing in RIBITS: https://ribits.ops.usace.army.mil/ords/f?p=107:121:
Q: You may know that out of the PGE restoration project there is now concern because they want to run electric lines up to Forest Park and clearcut 9 acres of land. Why isn’t Forest Park considered upland?
A: Yes, Forest Park functions as upland. However, there is a major highway running between the park and the river. Other agencies are responsible for regulation of those areas.
Q: We’re unique in terms of harbor restoration. When did you realize that restoration could be done in Portland Harbor at the same time as work in the river, done in tandem. Who were the experts on the panels who said, yes, you can do this.
A: The expert panel included NOAA, City of Portland, Oregon Fish & Wildlife, Oregon State University. Also, we’ve been working with EPA all along.
Q: Is Portland leading the way in terms of restoration?
A: We are out in front in restoration banking. Also on stewardship. These projects need stewardship over time. Portland Harbor is among leaders here.
Q: There are three dams on the Willamette River, is there a strong correlation of dams impacting flow?
A: Dams can significantly impact flow. Management regimes are negotiated with fisheries to make sure they can operate in a healthy way.
I’m in the legal dept at PGE. In the Harborton project, the substation ground wasn’t reduced. Soils there are more natural. We did an evaluation in 2015 and found one soil sample that exceeded safe PCB levels. It was concluded that the PCBs on the site do not expose animals and birds to risk.
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 year’s 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
firstname.lastname@example.org – 510.717.2441
May 28th – Talking/Tour of Guilds Lake Housing with Vanport Mosaic contact Sarah Taylor for additional information at (503) 805-4680 email: email@example.com
May 13 River’s Lament:
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. The River’s Lament is a walk to seven stations along the perimeter of the University of Portland campus where faith leaders will tell the story of the Willamette River from the river’s perspective. This walk was first sponsored by EcoFaith Recovery in 2011 and has now become a ritual that many groups have participated in.
- When: Saturday, May 13, 10:00am – 12:30pm.
- Where:Meet-up location is on a footpath at the University of Portland (5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203) 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.
- Bonus! Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.
- RSVP:If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 206-458-5710.
June 14 Collaborative Group Meeting:
The next Portland Harbor Collaborative Group Quarterly Meeting will take place online on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. The official meeting will tentatively run from 5:00pm – 7:00pm, with the potential for optional activities to take place from 4:30-5:00pm and from 7:00pm-8:00pm. RSVP: If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to email@example.com or via phone to 206-458-5710.
Virtual PHCC Monthly Coalition Meeting, Thursday, May 18th, 6:30-8:30pm
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.
Rumble on the River # 5 Video- CEI Energy Hub & Zenith Energy. Presented at the 41st Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene
Coffee Chat with Laura Knudson
Portland Harbor Virtual Casual Community Coffee Chat with EPA
(Friday, April 28 from 12-1pm Pacific)
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text (206-643-4299)
Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224, email@example.com
Our mailing address is:
Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344
Portland, OR 97203
Notes taken by Jane Terzis