A bi-monthly round-up of news about the Willamette and Columbia

March 23, 2012
Photo by Portland Ground
Coming Right Up! Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings.

Rollin' on the River book-signing. Saturday, March 24, 11 am to 4 pm
  John Rekart Jr. will be aboard the Oregon Maritime Museum's Steamer PORTLAND signing copies of his book, "Rollin' on the River". The book explores the work of Columbia River Pilots and the interesting and sometimes dangerous work they do.

If the Willamette River could talk, what would it say? 
  April 11, 7-8:30 pm. McMenamin's Kennedy School Gym, 5736 NE 33rd Ave., Portland.
Join Oregon experts as they lead you on a journey through the Willamette River, sharing stories of its ecological past and visions for its future. Introductory remarks by Congressman Blumenauer. Co-hosted by The Freshwater Trust. Moderated by Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust.
Willamette Riverkeeper's 1st Science Pub night: April 3, 7pm, Lucky Lab Beer Hall, 1945 NW Quimby St.   Environmental scientist Dr. Peter deFur, will help demystify the Portland Harbor Superfund site by explaining what pollutants are present, and how they can affect us. Peter has extensive experience and expertise in ecological and human health risk assessment, toxicology, dioxin and PCB toxicity, contaminated site clean-up and related issues.

--------------- Around the Corner...-----------------


April 17 River in Focus Brownbag: EPA's Urban Waters Program. Stay tuned for details.
2nd Annual Regional Trails Fair--April 25, 1-3 pm, 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland. Meet and network with trail planners, agency staff, non-profit organizations and trail advocates all in one location! Learn everything you always wanted to know about trails in the four-county metro area.

River Rally Comes to Portland-May 4-7.  The annual gathering of the international watershed conservation community comes to town, featuring over 95 educational workshops and intensive training sessions; keynotes by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Alexandra Cousteau; and a special focus on the Clean Water Act at 40.  ---------------    
River Heritage Day, June 23
, 10 am to 3 pm, in West Linn's Willamette Park. Celebrate West Linn's rich history along the beautiful Willamette and Tualatin Rivers!

And check out more river events on the Rivers Office calendar page... 
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Zidell Remediation Project: It's All in the Process. Watch this video of the fascinating presentation offered by the project team at last Tuesday's River in Focus brownbag!


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 Choosing the right cleanup. "... What's needed is a rational, brokered and collaborative way forward that achieves two things: economic vitality to the harbor's many industries and health for a river that provides recreation to people and an abundance of fish and wildlife." OregonLive.com, March 16


 At Portland Harbor Superfund site, advocates push early cleanup of highly contaminated River Mile 11. "...local advocates are pushing the city to kick-start cleanup on River Mile 11, a highly contaminated spot on the Willamette River's east side between the Broadway and Fremont bridges." OregonLive.com, March 13 
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 Portland, Oregon's Flood Protection Success Story: Reducing Flood Risk and Restoring Floodplains along Johnson Creek. "Last January when Portland received one of the top 20 storms, citizens along Johnson Creek for the first time didn't have costly damages. The Johnson Creek Restoration effort is a great model for how a city and its citizens can invest in their "natural defenses" and manage floods in a way that both protects people and the environment." American Rivers newsroom blog, March 15


 Flood prevention work continues in Portland's Lents neighborhood.  "The second phase of the east Lents floodplain restoration project is expected to help decrease flooding of Johnson Creek onto Southeast Foster Road." DJCOregon.com, March 14 
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River wins in Big Rain v. Big Pipe battle. "Something was missing from Portland during last week's torrential rains: untreated sewage overflows into the Willamette River." Portland Tribune, March 19


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 West Hayden Island Concept Plan report released. "Staff with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), in conjunction with the consultant Worley Parsons, has released the draft Concept Plan report for West Hayden Island. Producing a concept plan is one of the steps requested as part of the City Council's resolution to develop a legislative project to annex and plan for up to 300 acres of marine terminal development and at least 500 acres of open space. ... The concept plan is a "snapshot in time" of what may be feasible for a potential future development on 300 of the island's 800+ acres, as well as natural resource enhancement and passive recreational opportunities on the remaining 500 acres." BPS e-update, March 15


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Bridgehead project finally moves forward. "... Malsin is preparing to begin work on his next project: renovating the Convention Plaza building at the east end of the Burnside Bridge into a center for high-tech startup companies. Mayor Sam Adams dubbed it the "tech hub" in his recent State of the City speech." Portland Tribune, March 22

Portland's Morrison Bridge almost ready to reopen, leaving drama and traffic detours behind. "Replacing the often-slippery steel grating on the 54-year-old draw bridge's lift span turned into soap opera involving stop-work orders, environmental violations, cost overruns and delays." OregonLive.com, March 21
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Portland Says "Willkommen" to First Hamburg Sud Ship. The Port of Portland recently celebrated "the first Portland call for German carrier Hamburg Süd. Adding the carrier to Portland's international container carrier lineup is part of a newly expanded weekly service to the Mediterranean offered in partnership with Hapag-Lloyd." Port of Portland media release, March 7 
South Waterfront affordable housing progresses. "We'd like to share this amazing  time lapse video [click "Time Lapse" button at top of screen] of the construction progress at Block 49, a project to bring affordable homes to the South Waterfront." Commissioner Nick Fish blog, March 15 
 Portlanders honor World Water Day-5 K run added this year. "Portlanders will celebrate World Water Day on Saturday, March 24, at OMSI and along the Willamette River waterfront. Participants in the 2012 Walk for Water will head out at 10 a.m., carrying water-gathering containers on a 3.1- mile route to simulate a typical water-gathering experience for women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. After the walk, booths at OMSI will showcase community efforts involving water and other environmental issues." Portland Tribune, March 12

 New map, pond, increase trout options for Portland and northwest Oregon anglers. "...an interactive Google Earth map ... will show the locations of 110 seasonally stocked fish sites,complete with descriptions and locations where 1.2 million trout are stocked annually." OregonLive.com, March 17


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 Freeing the Calapooia. "Filmed as part of our forthcoming film, Willamette Futures, this short film highlights the removal of small - but critical - dams on the Calapooia River, allowing Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, and other migratory aquatic species to move freely throughout the watershed." Freshwaters Illustrated video, March 2012  

 McKenzie River Conservation Efforts Show How Working Farm, Improved Fish Habitat Can Be Integrated. " 'The vision is to coordinate work in the area on a landscape scale,' says Liz Lawrence, operations manager for the McKenzie River Trust, 'where farming and habitat conservation complement each other. The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area is a living laboratory for how a healthy floodplain and a working farm can be integrated on a single site and benefit one another.' " Columbia Basin Bulletin, March 16   

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 Oregon Farmers Surprised to Find Fish in Fields. "Researchers in Oregon's Willamette Valley found young native fish thriving in ditches that fill with water during the winter months. The unrecognized habitat meant farmers had been inadvertently raising fish in their fields, in addition to their intended crops, for years." PBS News Hour, March 8

NOAA authorizes states to remove sea lions that threaten protected salmon. "The agency has authorized the states to remove up to 92 animals annually, but estimates that far fewer, about 25 to 30, will be taken each year, given the conditions in the authorization. ... State and federal biologists estimate that California sea lions have eaten between one-and-a-half and four percent of returning adult salmon at Bonneville Dam each year during the past eight years." NOAA media release, Mar.15  

Federal judge approves killing sea lions at Bonneville Dam, but legal challenge continues."A federal judge turned down a request to halt the killing of California sea lions at Bonneville Dam, clearing the way for wildlife officials to remove up to 30 animals this year." OregonLive.com, March 22 
 Bald Eagle No Longer Threatened. "the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to remove the bird from protection under the the Oregon Endangered Species Act. ... Kit Lacy, the education director at the Cascade Raptor Center, attributes the comeback to two things. First, the Clean Water Act, which helped clean up Oregon waterways. The center says studies show as the Willamette River got cleaner, bald eagle numbers increased. The director also thinks the elimination of DDT, an insecticide from our environment, also helped with reproduction" KEZI.com, March 9.
February Gives Runoff A Boost: April-Sept. Water Supply Now Forecasted At 98 Percent Of Normal. "Columbia-Snake river water supply forecasts for the approaching warm months remain "below normal, but not drastically so," according to ... NOAA's Northwest River Forecast Center..." Columbia Basin Bulletin, March 9 
 Adrift on the river-Father and son recount river ordeal. "What began as a typical paddle down the Willamette River for Geoffrey Berg and his son... turned into a life-and-death struggle." democratherald.com, March 16 

 Cowlitz Fire and Rescue lands $400,000 hazmat grant. "Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue's Hazardous Response team will be readier than ever to handle hazardous materials incidents, thanks to a $400,000 grant the agency learned it won March 2. The grant will pay for equipment upgrades and training, including training to respond to marine hazmat emergencies at ports and industries on the lower Columbia River ... The Port Security Grant Program is administered by the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency." Daily News Online, March 17  

Port of Kalama Plans Interpretive Center. "...the proposed Kalama Interpretive Center, [will be] a new facility that will celebrate Kalama's unique place in Pacific Northwest history as a transportation and commercial hub. The center will be designed to replicate a traditional waterfront warehouse of the 1800s. Cultural artifacts, memorabilia and replicas of the past will pose life-sized within its walls and bring history alive for its visitors."  SeattlePI.com, March 14 

freeing the calapooia title screen capLoggers give unique Oregon ponderosa pine a lifeline. "In the last decade, Volz ... has planted roughly 1,500 Willamette Valley ponderosa pines -- a type of the ubiquitous Western conifer that's found only in this valley. ... scientists are now in the process of getting Pinus ponderosa var. willamettensis formally recognized as a distinct variety." High Country News, March 19

To view past River News Digests, click here.  

To submit news,email Rick Bastasch, or call 503.823.0275


NOTE: River News Digest is a compilation of interesting items and announcements relating to rivers-with a focus on better understanding, enjoying, and caring for our local rivers, while touching on items from around the country and the world. Please note much of the information is from sources other than the City of Portland [like news media, non-profit organizations, and other government agencies]. The Rivers Office lists these items for information purposes only and is not responsible for their content.