CAG Board Members

Michael Pouncil, Chair

Doug Larson

Sarah Taylor

Casimera Tadewaldt


May 8, 2024

Participants: 24


Michael Pouncil

Introduction: Cassie Cohen – Portland Harbor Community Coalition. Working on Willamette Cove issues, meeting with Metro and EPA.


Today we met at the Braided River Gallery at Lloyd Center for a hybrid in-person/Zoom event, with a presentation provided by The City of Portland and Metro about the Willamette Cove’s Primary Plan.


Tonight’s Meeting:

The focus for Metro Parks and Nature’s mission is to protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat and connect people to nature close to home.
We will hear from The City of Portland and 3 Metro staff about some of the history, current situation and future of Willamette Cove. 

Willamette Cove Master Plan Phase 1


Kyle Haggart (he/him) – Portland Harbor Technical Manager at the City of Portland

In-Water Updates:

Working on supplemental pre-design investigation and eval report. Submitted to EPA. Summarized field work 2022-2023. Design contains 14+ documents, hope to submit this summer to EPA, will give a public presentation on this. EPA will accept formal feedback.

Alison Clements (she/her) – Environmental Remediation Advisor at Metro. Alison leads Metro’s efforts to ensure that Willamette Cove is clean and safe for people and animals well into the future. In this role, she works with staff experts across Metro to ensure Metro’s values, goals, and long-term vision for the site are carried out.


Upland Design Updates:

Submitted draft remedial Design Investigation Evaluation Report to DEQ on 3/22/23.

Environmental field day 10/7/23.

Submitted updated Groundwater Source Control Evaluation Report to DEQ on 12/5/23.

Ongoing: basis of design report and residual risk assessment.


Previous upland studies:

Upland investigation – soil, groundwater, stormwater.

Source control evalulation.

Interim removal actions – inner cove, 2004, 2008, 2015-16.


Remedial Design Investigation:

Broke up 27-acre site into ½ acre parcels for sampling for an average concentration.

Why sample? To fill data gaps, to determine extents of contamination, support future remedial design.

What did we sample? Upland soil and beneath existing asphalt and concrete pads.

Each one-foot interval depths to 3 feet below ground surface.


Sampling Plan:

3D samples per Decision Unit (DU) at each depth, over 5000 samples collected.


Sampling Results:

No new human health hotspots. Confirmed contamination is spread across the site, level of contamination decreased with depth. In most locations the contaminations went at least 3 feet deep.

Human Health vs Ecological Risk:

People, plants and animals – how are they exposed, for how long, in what ways are they exposed? If exposure of toxicity is cut off, then there will be no risk. The goal is to make the site safe.

Human Health Risk Sampling Results:

To Humans: dioxins, arsenic, cPAHs and PCBs at this site are at levels that pose a risk to humans.


Ecological Risk Sampling Results:

Contamination is widespread across the site, with some higher risk hot spots in the central part of the site and the eastern part.


What are the Goals of the Cleanup?

Protect future users of the site – humans, plants and animals. Remove contaminated soil, prevent contaminates from spreading.


How is a Remedy Selected?

Based on latest data on the site. Effectiveness, Implementability, Implementation Risk, Long-term Reliability, Cost-Effectiveness.


Record of Decision Selected Remedy:

Excavation used to remove soil with high concentrations and disposed of off-site, not on the site consolidation area.

Remaining soil with high concentrations will be excavated

Soil cap will be placed across remaining area with concentration above ecological risk levels.


Proposed Upland Cleanup Plan:

Excavation, soil caps and covers, Protect humans, plants and animals.

Site won’t be 100 percent clean but it will be safe.



2024 – basis of design report, remedial design work plan, 30% design document, 60% design document.

2025 – 95% design document, the 100% design document, then, can move forward with implementation and cleanup.

Jennifer D’Avanzo (she/her) – Willamette Cove Senior Planner and Landscape Architect at Metro. Jennifer is leading the site master planning efforts for Willamette Cove nature park. She is consulting with Tribes, engaging with community, collaborating with Metro staff and other agencies throughout the master planning phase of the project to come up with the future vision for the site.


Willamette Cove Context:

The site is in North Portland, along the Willamette River. Metro bought the property in 1996, with the intention to create a nature park. Willamette Cove will be one of the only natural areas on the Willamette River. Working with the tribes throughout the process.


Site Master Planning Goals:

Habitat for fish and wildlife and for passive, low-impact recreation.

Develop the site master plan with tribes and the community.

Provide safe and accessible trails and water access.

Locate areas for habitat preservation.

Create opportunities for cultural elements and education.


What is Not in the Willamette Cove Nature Park?

Playgrounds, sports courts, soccer fields, multi-use grass area, bright lights, motorized vehicles, unleashed dogs.


Mater Planning Process:

Programming – Spring 2024

Design – Fall 2024

Preferred (final design) – Spring 2025

Final Master Plan (Metro Council approval) – Fall 2025


Tribal Engagement:

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian reservation

Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

Nez Perce Tribe


Site Conservation Plan:

Restore shallow water habitat for salmon, restore riparian forest, restore conditions for oak and madrone woodland, explore appropriate planning and funding strategies to ensure strategic restoration, determine how and where public access can occur, restore site to adapt to and be resilient to climate change.



Cory Eldridge (he/him) – Communications and Community Engagement Lead at Metro. Cory is part of the parks and nature communications team at Metro. He leads the community engagement team and, along with other work, manages community engagement and communications for the projects at Willamette

Community Engagement Process:

Ensure that the public can meaningfully influence Willamette Cove’s nature park.

Metro staff focuses time and energy building relationships with communities who have historically been left out of and harmed by government decision-making processes – communities of color, the indigenous community, the disability community.


Community Engagement Events and Opportunities:

Three workshops: 30-50 participants, in-person and virtual.

One open house – repurpose the successful Willamette Cove Environmental Field Day.

Surveys mailed to 36,000 residences in North Portland, 3 times as we proceed.

Newsletters, Project Page URL:

Press releases, Tabling at community events.


Jasiel Lopez (he/him) – Community Involvement Specialist at MetroJasiel focuses on connecting communities across greater Portland area to Metro Parks and Nature’s work. He is working to involve the community in the master planning process for Willamette Cove to help create a shared vision at the site.



Q: When the original engineering form did the sampling design, they didn’t sample more than 2 feet across the site. DEQ says the contaminants goes deeper than 2-3 feet. Do you nave any info about rain leaching contaminants back into the river after the cleanup? Monitoring wells are scattered at the site.

A: We have 9 monitoring wells across the site, sampled regularly for current data. Also collected samples from the river bank. If leaching is increasing contaminations, there are a couple contaminants that might be linked to this. Mostly in the west part of the site. Slightly elevated in that area but we don’t have enough info – will collect more data and install more monitoring wells.


Q: did you share this new draft with DEQ? With the community?

A: Yes DEQ. Sharing with community is up to DEQ. Typically, we share draft docs when they are at a point where data is collected and decisions can be made


Q: Please elaborate on the reach-out methods, specifically 1. immigrant/refugee, 2. unhoused 3. urban native community. Many of them are not on government social media, sign up for newsletters or read government mailers.

A: We reach out to these communities by connecting with community-based organizations that serve greater and North Portland and we invite those folks to our workshops


Q: Where is this site relative to McCormick and Baxter?

A: Just north of McCormick and Baxter


Q: is there outreach to the Albina area, Albina Vision Trust?

A: No, but we did send survey cards.


Q: Water elevations change over the seasons.

A: We do take that into consideration, grading, soil changes, etc.


Q: Many people come in by boat from many areas from Oregon and Washington and hang out in the cove. How does that outreach looks like?

A: A good question and I don’t have a good answer. We have rangers who make sure everyone knows that this is a closed, contaminated area. They interact with whoever they see. If they’re anchored out in the cove, that’s challenging. We don’t have an organized plan to reach them. We work with Ground Sport, a houseless community who live on boats.


Q: Trees will be removed during this process. Will you then sample beneath?

A: Yes. After anything is removed, we’ll collect more data on what’s underneath and decide what to do with what we find. We’ll have additional protective measures during this to avoid exposing people to contamination.


Q: The bike trail. Will it be paved? Does this interfere with a soil cap?

A: There will be a paved bike trail. Won’t need a cap where the trail is laid. There will be restroom facility also.


Q: You’re negotiating with Tribes as sovereign nations – differences in what they would like to see and what the public wants to see?

A: We build in extra time to coordinate community concerns with tribal concerns.


Q: Is it possible to get an estimated park completion date at this point? Or did I miss that?

A: Completion date depends on in-water cleanup, that should be done next year. Upland cleanup the following year, then on to 2027. So will probably be complete a few years out.


Q: What level of PCB’s are safe for me and my dog?

A: There is not a hot spot for PCB’s in this area. You can see screening levels for all contaminants on the DEQ website,


Q: More and more people are on the Willamette with non-motorized boats. Often, they stay closer to shore. Will it be clear where they can and should not go?

A: During the cleanup people will be kept out of the site. Don’t know yet exactly how. There are signs up now, sometimes people ignore them. Educate, outreach as much as we can.







Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224,

Portland Harbor CAG
Portland Harbor CAG YouTube 

Our mailing address is: 

Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group

8316 N. Lombard St., PMB #344

Portland, OR  97203



Notes taken by Jane Terzis