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

Willamette Falls
May 18, 2012
Coming Right Up! Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings.


Ross Island schedulePaddle to Preserve Ross Island! This summer, Portland Parks -City Nature offers 6 trips to Ross Island Natural Area in partnership with Willamette Riverkeeper &  Friends of Ross Island. Help enhance wildlife habitat and learn more about the island's animals and plants. Family friendly! Children  welcome when accompanied and supervised by an adult. Use your own canoe or kayak or reserve a spot in a canoe provided by sponsors for only $10 per person.


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 


Building Green Cities. "...standing on an impervious sea of concrete on Sandy Boulevard in northeast Portland it's unimaginable how the urban landscape could possibly be connected to or influence the Willamette River, flowing two miles to the west. From where I stand the urban water cycle is out of sight, out of mind. It's been engineered out of our daily lives." America's Wild Read, May 6  (photo: Mike Houck) 

Tabor to River logoTabor to the River's Spring Newsletter now available. Tabor to the River is a program managed by the City's Environmental Services bureau that improves sewer system reliability and promotes natural watershed function.         

Port of Portland to dredge Willamette River near terminal--DEQ determines sediment will be safely deposited on west Hayden Island. "The Port of Portland plans to dredge 10,000 to 40,000 cubic yards of Willamette River sediment near its T-2 terminal and deposit it on the port's west Hayden Island property." Portland Tribune, May 11 

Willamette Superfund cleanup could put $2B up for grabs."When the federal government and Willamette riverfront businesses finally get around to cleaning the Portland Harbor Superfund site, the project will take hundreds of millions, if not close to $2 billion, to execute. Exactly which companies will get the contracts that will add up to that total remains very much up in the air." Portland Business Journal-Sustainable Business Oregon, May 5   

USGS report coverStudy Identifies Contaminants From Wastewater Treatment Plants, Storm Runoff Flowing Into Columbia. "Human activities, such as industrial production, transportation, and day-to-day living, are sources of many contaminants that flow into the Columbia River. A recently completed reconnaissance study detected hundreds of these contaminants in water samples collected from wastewater-treatment-plant effluent and storm runoff from roads and other urban environments in nine cities that line the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington." Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 11 (Read USGS press release here)  

Skanska to build support facility for wastewater treatment plant. "Construction on the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Portland continues to move forward. Portland City Council on Wednesday will accept a bid from Skanska USA to construct a $6.7 million support facility for the plant. The 11,500-square-foot building, designed by Skylab Architecture, will hold 38 people from Bureau of Environmental Service's engineering, design and construction staff." [full article requires subscription]  DJCOregon.com, May 7, 2012      

Apartment building proposed as first Zidell development in South Waterfront. "The Zidell family, the owner of 33 acres of South Waterfront land slated for development, has proposed a $20 million 118-unit apartment building aimed at young professionals and Oregon Health & Science University employees and students."  OregonLive.com, May 15 

south waterfrontZidell acquires more land in South Waterfront. "ZRZ Realty, the real estate arm of the Zidell Companies, has acquired a 43,000-square-foot building on the South Waterfront. ... the building sits on 2.77 acres and brings the Zidell property along the waterfront to 33 contiguous acres between the Oregon Health and Sciences University tram and a planned light-rail station." [full article requires subscription] DJCOregon.co, May 14        

Mirabella meets its low-flow sewage goal - but just barely. "As part of [a] pilot program, the Mirabella team received a 10 percent reduction for the sewer SDC, but now it has to prove that the building is really sending less water down the city's drain. ... Engineers from Glumac recently completed a full analysis of the building's actual energy and water usage over the past year. They found that the Mirabella is sending about 10 percent less water into the sewer system." DJCOregon.com, May 4       

 burnside bridge house 

Burnside Bridge rehabilitation project planned. "Bidding is open for the Burnside Bridge Rehabilitation Plan, a potential multi-million dollar project that could last multiple years. ... Multnomah County is looking for a consulting firm to conduct extensive preliminary studies, including inspection of specific structural and mechanical components of the bridge." [full article requires subscription]   DJCOregon.com, May 10        


steel bridge from broadway bridge


From suicides to collisions, bridge operator has seen it all. "When the man grabbed the railing and threatened to jump, Kim Patterson realized the situation had changed." DJCOregon.com, May 3     

uss ranger


Volunteers raise money to bring aircraft carrier to Fairview. "The nonprofit working to bring a retired naval ship to Fairview to serve as a museum plans to open a new office space and shop near the ship's future mooring spot."  DJCOregon.com May 10         

Dragon boat racing offers social, physical benefits. "For Marla Baker, yelling at the rowers of the dragon boat she captains three times a week is actually an escape. On the water, she's able to forget about her life challenges, whether it's raising her 10 grandchildren, taking care of her sick daughter or running her boat repair company by herself. To her, life is easier on the bow of a 700-pound boat."  DJCOregon.com May 10         

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 ..."  


zebra & quagga mussels ODFW Boat Inspectors Find Invasive Mussels On Two Boats In First Week Of Inspections. "During the first week of inspection operations, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife boat inspectors discovered invasive mussels on two boats: one in Central Point and one in La Grande." Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 11    (photo: UC Center for Invasive Species Research) 

seal lion eating salmon

 California Sea Lion Numbers In Lower Columbia This Year Far Below 2003's Peak Count Of 104. Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 11   


Anti-whaling group joining fight to save sea lions. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - known for actively battling whalers - says it's joining the fight to save sea lions on the Columbia River. Seattle Times, May 14, 2012  


Group asks for stop to sea lion killings--Humane Society challenges state efforts to protect salmon. "A federal judge will decide by the end of May whether to stop the government from killing sea lions that eat endangered wild salmon bottled up at Bonne­ville Dam on the Columbia River" Register Guard, May 16   

Blue Heron site full of potentials-City encourages big dreams, within reason, for the property.  "Near Willamette Park and next to the Willamette River, with wetlands, a stream and some hills, the site is alive with birds, ducks and beavers. The city of West Linn is starting to dream big for the site and wants to make sure the community gets to weigh in throughout the process. West Linn Tidings, May 10 

Public invited to give input on third Salem bridge across Willamette at open house. StatesmanJournal.com, May 6.  

Luckiamute RiverState building access on Luckiamute River. "Mid-valley kayakers and canoeists have a new place to get into the Luckiamute River - or will before the year is out.. Democrat Herald, May 11.  

Eugene planning summer fixes on busy paths-Bike paths along Amazon Creek and the banks of the Willamette to be reconstructed. "Two of Eugene's busiest networks of bike and pedestrian paths are set to receive about $1.8 million in makeovers from city planners looking to erase erosion and add features to accommodate more users."  The Register-Guard, May 5.  

spring chinook 

Springers Make Their Move With Big Daily Counts At Bonneville. "Wednesday's upriver spring chinook salmon count at Bonneville Dam was 18,436, the fifth largest daily count since at least 1970, and perhaps as far back as 1938..." Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 11   (photo: ODFW) 

Mt. Hood snow survey 


April-September Columbia Basin Runoff Predicted To Be 10th Best In 52 Years; La Nina Dissipates In April. Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 11   

(photo NRCS) 


Fun / Of Note    

Group helps ducklings cross downtown Portland streets. "A video taken by Dustin Brown shows a group of people herding a mother duck and ten ducklings down Southwest Taylor Street toward the Willamette River." KPTV.com, May 8


Reporter conducts his own 'icy' Willamette experiment. "I jumped into the cold water. I lost my breath during the initial splash. Within seconds my arms and legs went numb." KOIN.com, May 14


Willamette Valley Suite to debut at Memorial Day Concert in Corvallis. "The 16-minute suite features five movements: The Cascades; The River Runs North; Harvest Time, Fine Wine; Fall Colors and Alma Maters; and Land of Milk and Honey." gazettetimes.com, April 29  

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.