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

swan island esplanade 

May 4, 2012
Coming Right Up! Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings.
     wild in city book

 America's WILD READ, April 15 through May 6. "Wild in the City - Exploring The Intertwine" is being  featured as part of this online discussion group, a project of the National Conservation Training Center's conservation library. Mike Houck, M.J. Cody and Bob Sallinger moderate a lively, weekly discussion.  


book coverHonoring Our Rivers Student Showcase at Powell's City of Books. May 6, 4pm. The honorary event will feature student readings and selected student artwork from the recently released 2012 edition of the Honoring Our Rivers anthology. The 2012 Anthology features close to 200 original poems, essays, photography and artwork selected from more than 600 Oregon students - the largest submission pool to date!


Watershed report cover


Come aboard the Steamer PORTLAND Sunday, May 6th 1 - 4pm and celebrate the Opening Weekend of Boating with a nautical art show.  



Portland Harbor Superfund public open house and information session. May 10, 6 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Open House 5:30 to 6);Ecotrust - Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center, 721 NW Ninth Avenue.


festival iconOaks Bottom Festival of the Birds. May 12, 9 am - 3 pm. Join the City of Portland and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a river-side celebration of migratory birds!


parker pup by riverDoggie Dash. May 12th. Downtown Portland goes to the dogs as cars are banished and dogs rule the streets. Thousands of people and dogs enjoy a sprint along or over the Willamette to support the Oregon Humane Society. Two routes provide the fun: the 1.5 mile Naito Loop, and the 2.5 mile Bridge-to-Bridge route. Registration is $35 (children 10 and under are free.) (Photo courtesy ParkerPup.com!)


willamette fallsRivers Office Willamette Falls & Locks brownbag. May 15, Noon to 1 pm. Learn about the Falls, the Locks, and how we've arrived at a turning point in history for these Northwest landmarks.



2012 Columbia River Estuary Conference-New Scientific Findings and Their Management Implications. May 15th - 17th, Astoria: Endangered species recovery, lessons from ecological restoration, new understanding of the lower Columbia River ecosystem, and more. No admission charge for the conference.


ecoroofPortland Ecoroof Symposium-The Bottom Line on Portland Green Rooftops. May 18, 8:30 - 6:00 pm. A chance for architects, designers, developers, building owners, planners, engineers, and green roof professionals to learn from presentations and case studies on the bottom line for green roofs. Free--but space limited, advanced registration required. Email or call 503-823-7863.


Blue Heron Wetlands Education Day. May 20, 1-4 pm. Native plant giveaway, scavenger hunt, food, rain garden workshop, and more. The Blue Heron Wetland Restoration Project will eradicate a newly identified invasive weed, Ludwigia peploides, create a sustainable management plan to provide maintenance for a healthy wetland environment and create a community education program. Email Alex Staunch


Willamette Riverkeeper Superfund Pub. May 22, 7-8 pm. "Learn about the river's general health, delve into some of the key issues related to the cleanup, and how the Public Trust Doctrine applies to dealing with river sediments that contain PCBs, heavy metals, the breakdown products of DDT."


OEC's May-June Love Your River Challenge--Go toxic-free in the garden. Take the challenge and you could win a $50 gift certificate to Dennis 7 Dees Garden Centers.       

summer on the river 
wilsonville bridge concept
Portland Rivers Office annual report.  The Office of Healthy Working Rivers recently presented its annual report to City Council, summarizing activities from April 2011 to April 2012.

willamette river in portland

  Willamette Week's Take Me to the River Issue-Portraits of the Willamette. "The Willamette shows us the ways we embrace, and betray, our best ideals. This river defines us. Sure, the Columbia is bigger and more renowned. We don't know of any songs Woody Guthrie wrote about the Willamette. But this river is ours: The Willamette ..."  

 heron in Crystal Springs

Culvert Work Set For This Year To Aid Wild Salmon, Steelhead In Portland's Johnson Creek. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Portland Bureau of Environmental Services are co-hosts for an open house on Thursday, May 3 to discuss construction activities this summer to restore a portion of Crystal Springs Creekin southeast Portland. ... Replacing Crystal Springs Creek culverts with fish-friendly culverts will open up nearly three miles of prime habitat for threatened native fish species." Columbia Basin Bulletin, April 27


Johnson Creek Steelhead spotted near Mill Park. "...a resident along Johnson Creek near Mill Park [shares] a couple of videos of adult salmonids, taken from his backyard. The fish pops out of the water at about 0:33 of the video." Johnson Creek Watershed Council April e-bulletin.


Photo: Wikipedia by Dmcdevit

Watershed health cover close-up 

Portland slates watershed actions for next 5 years. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services recently released its 5 year action plan for watershed improvement. The document updates the Portland Watershed Management Plan, the City's long-term commitment to work toward watershed health. This new Implementation Strategy serves as the five-year update, summarizing the city's progress since 2006 and guiding the city's work for 2012-2017 More information is available at BES' watershed website.



Arkema siteCleanup starts on highly polluted Arkema site in Northwest Portland. "After a two-year delay, work is set to begin this week on one of the Portland Harbor's toughest cleanup jobs: Stopping pollution from a former northwest Portland chemical plant that produced DDT and rocket fuel from getting into the Willamette River." OregonLive.com, May 1 



EPA settles with Railway Company for improperly handling contaminated soil near the McCormick & Baxter Superfund site on the banks of the Willamette River in North Portland. EPA media release, April 25


Sewage facility near Saturday Market to be upgraded. "A sewage processing facility adjacent to the Portland Saturday Market will soon receive a $6 million upgrade. ... One of the goals of the project is to align the facility aesthetically with Ankeny Pavilion, which attracts thousands of people for the Saturday Market every year." (requires subscription to view). DJCOregon.com, April 20

Trimet bridge concrete pour  

TriMet's 'Big Pour' in Portland: Watch the bridge work, impress your friends with knowledge of big dirt pile.  OregonLive.com, April 20


New Bridge Starting To Take Shape. OPB.org, April 22 (Image: TriMet) 
south waterfrontHyatt hotel project selected to be built on South Waterfront lot."A six-story Hyatt House hotel could begin rising on one of the last developable lots in Portland's South Waterfront District as soon as next year." DJCOregon.com, May 2  
Vancouver Waterfront Park picks up $1M. "... Vancouver, Wash., last week landed $1 million ... to begin construction on its planned Waterfront Park. The money will go toward the first phase of an eight-acre public park and trail extension, but city officials view the grant as a key step toward the construction of a gigantic, mixed-use development that has been in the works for years." DJCOregon.com, April 16

Port of Vancouver's Paulson pleased with what he's leaving. "... he's confident the port will secure a roughly $80 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration to complete ... the $150 million West Vancouver Freight Access project. ... The rail project, to be completed by 2017, is under construction and will eventually add 28 miles of track to speed cargo and handle more of it. The largest capital project in the port's 100-year history, officials estimate it will create at least 1,000 new, permanent jobs and more than 4,000 temporary construction jobs." The Columbian, April 29

Milwaukie fish-checker makes compassionate catch after woman jumps from Ross Island Bridge. OregonLive.com, April 24


Extreme sport goes awry as man falls off Steel Bridge. KATU.com, April 25


 Watershed report cover 

Salem works toward a trail connection-Vision for Island taking shape."The city of Salem is pursuing a $1.6 million grant that would allow the purchase or easement of 300 acres of Minto-Brown Island owned by Boise Cascade. The acquisition would ensure that the area would be used for wildlife conservation and allow public access to areas formerly off limits. ... [the] vision [includes] a trail connecting more than 20 miles of trails and 900 acres of open space on the island." StatesmanJournal.com, April 25

seal lion eating salmonTribal Group Claims Sea Lions Munch More Salmon Than Previously Thought. OPB.org, April 23


Briefs Filed Defending Sea Lion Removal; Oral Arguments May 15 On Preliminary Injunction Request.Columbia Basin Bulletin, April 27


Fishermen nearly pulled overboard by sea lion. "They netted a wild Chinook salmon, and were getting ready to release it back into the river, when a sea lion came out of nowhere and grabbed the net and the fish."  KPTV.com, April 23


Oregon Wants Access To "Lethal Management Tools" In Reducing Salmon-Eating Cormorant Numbers. Columbia Basin Bulletin, April 27


USGS report cover

New Molalla River report from USGS. "The report describes the geomorphic setting and processes governing the physical layout of the river channel and evaluates changes in river geometry over the past several decades using analyses of aerial imagery and other quantitative techniques."    Watch and listen here

Lower Monument dam


"I Think We Need To Take Those Dams Down": Judge Redden's Interview Comments Stir Reaction.   

 Columbia Basin Bulletin, April 27


Fun / Of Note    

portland at night by Steve Fritz 

Finding Portland. Uncage the Soul video production has released a stunning new time-lapse video of Portland. All parts of the video are gorgeous, but the depictions of our rivers and bridges are especially so. Read how "How'd they do it? A creator of 'Finding Portland' explains", KATU.com, April 27.  Photo by Steve Fritz     


At Savannah port, river respirators to help fish breathe. "Plans to deepen the Savannah harbor include a costly proposal to ensure fish can still breathe by using a dozen machines to inject oxygen into the river." Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 28    

More flood storage has limited benefit to Missouri River, corps says. "Reducing the flood risk along the Missouri River ... might require changing the way communities and states think about development in the flood plain..." Kansas City Star, April 15


Photographers revisit sites of EPA's 'Documerica' project to see how things have changed over 40 years. "Forty years after the Environmental Protection Agency sent an army of nearly 100 photographers across the country to capture images at the dawn of environmental regulation, The Associated Press went back for Earth Day this year to see how things have changed." (scroll down 3 photo pairs to view then/now of Willamette). msnbc.com PHOTOblog, April 23   

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.