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

stand up paddlers on Willamette
Photo by Gorge Performance

June 1, 2012


            Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings  

Streets Reconsidered: Inclusive Design for the Public Realm. June 13, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Learn from representatives of the re:Streets project about the most innovative approaches to street design from cities around the world and how streets can be places supporting transportation and community interaction, play, cleaner streams, sustainability and more.


Cleaning Up the Mud: Seeking Insights and Innovations from the Experience of Others. June 14, 7-8:30 pm. "Natural Recovery, In-place Treatment, Capping and Dredging. We know that these are all ways to clean up contaminated mud at the bottom of a river, but how do they actually work? Is one better than the others?" Presenters: Dr.'s Todd Bridges & Paul Schroeder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Fish Species Protection, Flood Insurance and NewLimits on Development. June 14, 8:30 - 11:30 am. A seminar focusing on recent litigation challenging the National Flood Insurance Program under the Endangered Species Act, and on new rules agencies are implementing that limit development. Offered by Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt.


Explorando el Columbia Slough. June 16, 1 pm - 5 pm. ˇCelébrase la naturaleza en la ciudad y el ambiente del Columbia Slough! Celebrate nature in the city and the environment of the Columbia Slough! This bilingual ffestival offers activities in Spanish and English for all ages. Free. For more information, call 503-281-1132. Hosted by Columbia Slough Watershed Council.  

River in Focus brownbag: Actions for Watershed Health: Celebrating Portland's Progress for Healthy Rivers and Streams Since 2006. June 19, noon. Portland Building Auditorium. Come hear about Portland's watershed plan in-action--and learn about  the many projects and programs that are improving our rivers and streams.
West Linn River Heritage Day. June 23, 10 am. Willamette Park in West Linn. Celebrate West Linn's rich history along the beautiful Willamette and Tualatin Rivers. 
Sunday Trailways To Celebrate Fanno Creek Trail. June 24, 11 am - 3 pm. Sunday Trailways is a free event with activities for kids and adults along the 4-1/2 mile long Fanno Creek Trail.  The trail features some of Beaverton's most scenic areas, including the Koll Wetlands, Fanno Farmhouse and Vista Brook Park." Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District.
  Maritime Heritage Festival logo
 Maritime Heritage Festival, July 13-15. St. Helens' Public Docks. The Maritime Heritage Festival celebrates the region's maritime and native history and activities, and its many stories. 
Vintage boats, WWII vessels, Native American and maritime exhibits, boat building, story telling, regatta, children's activities, musical performances, water skiing show, sailing exhibition and more.  
Columbia Slough Regatta. July 29, 9am to 1pm. St Johns Canoe Launch, 9363 N Columbia Blvd. Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council's annual celebration of the Columbia Slough with a huge on-the-water festival
Rosie's starlight parade float
Build & row a 22' skiff! Wind & Oar Boat School's looking for a few more people (space is limited) for a 4 month build of a Scottish-style St. Ayles skiff--like Portland's favorite, Rosie--who will make an appearance in Saturday's Starlight Parade (shown here in the process of being outfitted as a float).


Summer Free For All--Summer in the Parks. Thanks to lots of sponsors, Portland Parks offers a series of fun events in City Parks--including concerts in a some of Portland's favorite riverfront parks: Sellwood Riverfront Park and Willamette Park.

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 2012 poster image
SummerSummer 2012 on the River!

Click on the image to the right for a Rivers Office listing of some of the great events that will get you out or along our rivers this Summer.
news from neighborhood2Neighborhood

Portland Harbor survey cover  


New Willamette River Survey Released. The Portland Harbor Partnership has just released results from a survey regarding the community's vision for Portland Harbor and the river overall--Community Perspectives on the Future of the Portland Harbor and the Willamette River. Responses reflected four primary themes relating to the river as a: recreational and entertainment hub; sublime natural and cultural landmark; symbol of abundant nature; and,  vital economic resource.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Visits Portland. "On her visit to Portland, [Head of EPA] Lisa Jackson ... was shown innovative techniques like bioswales, green roofs, and stormwater planters that help Portland manage its abundance of rain water in a way that contributes to healthy river systems." Mayor Sam Adams blog, May 23 

swan island esplanade

The Columbia River's worrisome chemistry. Oregonian Editorial, May 18  
trimet bridge building


Federal officials commit $745.2 million to Portland-Milwaukie light rail. "Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today signed an agreement to commit 50 percent funding for the nearly $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project. ... A light-rail bridge across the Willamette River that will also carry buses, bikes and pedestrians is already under construction." OregonLive.com, May 22  (Photo: TriMet)



The Burnside Bridgehead project could land another high-profile tenant: The Software Association of Oregon. Portland Business Journal, May 18   


Project will light up historic Burnside Bridge. The Willamette Light Brigade reports that "two operator towers and the south side of the river piers of the Burnside Bridge will light up for the first time." KPTV.com, May 25


Columbia River Crossing crews dig shafts, drive piles on Hayden Island. "The Oregon phase of a soil and construction test designed to look for cost savings for the $3.1 billion Columbia River Crossing is nearing completion at the Oregon Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Center on Jantzen Beach. Construction has largely blended into the background of the $50 million renovation of the Jantzen Beach Center across the street. But recently, a wide, steel shaft rose conspicuously about 30 feet into the air." OregonLive.com, May 22 

shaver tug nr Dalles


Shaver Welcomes New Tug--the M/V Sommer S. " 'We designed this boat to be Columbia River specific,' says Steve Shaver, President of Shaver Transportation. Dubbed the Columbia class, the new boat is the first in a new series of tug designs by the firm, and will be the most powerful tug in Shaver's fleet." Pacific Maritime Online, May 22   (Photo: US Army Corps of Engineers; Shaver Tug Cascades near the Dalles) 



swan island esplanadePortland Boat Tours fires up. "[On] Sunday, May 27th Portland Boat Tours ... [celebrated] the start of its inaugural season with a party and free preview tours for the Kickstarter backers that were instrumental in its successful start-up. In December, entrepreneur Seth Vore started a two month Kickstarter campaign to raise the funding needed to get his captain's license, insurance, and everything else he required to start his dream job (giving tours of Portland from the Willamette River in his classic wooden boat)." Portland Boat Tours media release, May 22  

DragonSports finds perfect home in Lake Oswego--Colorful, ancient boat-racing sport attracts ever-growing number of enthusiasts. " 'It's perfect,' Darrell Hames, president of DragonSports USA, said. ... 'There's not many places that can accommodate 50-foot boats that are attached to trailers. It is a very unique facility. Now we have room to work on boats 12 months a year. There's also the beautiful (Willamette) river nearby.' " Lake Oswego Review, May 24      

Photo ops aplenty on city streets--"Portland Squared" event challenges top photographers  "On May 19, Portland Squared brought together 49 photographers to document a separate portion of a square mile in Portland. This slide show displays their work and creativity documenting the people, architecture and landscape centered around the Burnside Bridge." Portland Tribune, May 24

UpriverUpriver tidings

Willamette Falls Locks called Oregon 'treasure'. "The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation League of Oregon each has declared the 1873 locks and navigation canal to be national and state "treasures" that are irreplaceable and critically threatened places." OregonLive.com, May 25


Preserving a National Treasure-Willamette Falls Locks and Canal get big backers with National Trust and preservation league. " 'We have long known the critical role that Willamette Falls at the end of the Oregon Trail have played in shaping our country's character as the nexus for western migration," [Peggy Moretti, director of the Historic Preservation League of Oregon] said. 'The deterioration and recent closure of the historically-intact 1873 canal and locks signals a huge loss to water navigation on the Willamette River and to preserving this significant National Register site.' " West Linn Tidings, May 31 

Willamette Falls panorama   

The Flood Way. Support sought for documentary film on "floods, and the ways in which human society interacts with and shapes them. The film speaks about floods in general, but centers on the life and history of the Willamette River." More info at ioby.org-which "connects change with resources. It enables all of us to invest in change-then see (and live with) the return on our investment." 

Which route is best for third river bridge in Salem? StatesmanJournal.com, May 16

Treaty tribes dedicate final replacement fishing site. "On April 25, 2012, representatives from four tribes, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Army Corps of Engineers all stood by the Columbia River to mark the end of a construction project both useful and symbolic. It was the completion of the 31st -- and final -- fishing access site on the river, giving tribes the ability to use their traditional fishing grounds and village sites, which they had lost access to due to dams on the river." High Country News, May 16   


In Our View: Protecting Nature-Twin milestones illustrate importance of Endangered Species Act. "This month, the legend of Lonesome Larry is 20 years old. Back in 1992, a solitary sockeye salmon was counted at Redfish Lake in Idaho. This was newsworthy because Larry was believed to be the only sockeye to maneuver that year 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean... Preserving salmon runs to Redfish Lake and elsewhere is a mission of great urgency. ... That effort is making progress...statistics from the Idaho Fish and Game Department [show] that 1,070 ESA-protected sockeye returning to Redfish Lake last year." The Columbian, May 21   Photo: NW Power Planning Council

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet. This PBS Nature documentary "investigates the parallel stories of collapsing Pacific salmon populations and how biologists and engineers have become instruments in audacious experiments to replicate every stage of the fish's life cycle..." The film focuses on the Columbia River system and includes lots of stunning videography of Oregon and Idaho landscapes. It also features the observations of author David James Duncan, who wrote his The River Why on the banks of Johnson Creek and serves on Johnson Creek Watershed Council's advisory circle. Click here for an interview with Duncan conducted by KUFM, Montana Public Radio.

Feds Propose $2.1 Billion Fish Plan. "Improving the survival rate of four species of salmon and steelhead along the lower Columbia River will cost $2.1 billion during the next 25 years, under a plan offered by the federal government." ECT.coop, May 25, 2012

Pike netting continues on Pend Oreille River. "More than 5,200 [non-native] northern pike have been gillnetted out of the Pend Oreille River downstream from Newport this spring." Spokesman-Review, May 27

Turning dredge spoils into commodities on the Columbia River. Entrepreneur seeks to "create a green solution to the excessive "dredge spoils" from the Columbia, which have been linked to environmental, economic and safety problems on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river. The long-term goal is to channel money earned from that endeavor into an "environmental solutions" company aimed at cleaning up the Columbia. 'It's capital with a conscience,' says Trumbull." OregonBusiness.com, May 25


Fun / Of Note    

Floating Robots Use GPS-enabled Smartphones to Track Water Flow. "A fleet of 100 floating robots took a trip down the Sacramento River, USA in a field test organized by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. ­The smartphone-equipped floating robots demonstrated the next generation of water monitoring technology, promising to transform the way government agencies monitor one of the state's most precious resources." cellular-news, May 14 (thanks to WaterWired for the alert).  


Oregon Field Guide: Gold Fish. "Follow a team of ODFW fish biologists as they try to stop one of the state's most destructive invaders - gold fish. It turns out that the harmless gold fish most of us had as pets are far from harmless. In fact, if gold fish find their way into Central Oregon's Crane Prairie reservoir, they could spread throughout the upper Deschutes watershed and destroy the region's lucrative sport fishing economy." OPB.org 


calapooia dam removalThe Long Memory of Small Dams "One hundred and fifty years ago the town of Brownsville...built a small dam to divert water to local woolen and lumber mill. ... Today about 90 percent of Oregon's small dams, of which there are more than 3,500, are more than half a century old ... The Brownsville Dam was removed in 2007; next was the removal of Sodom and Shearer in 2011. Tullos and her team were there to document the process." Oregon's Agricultural Progress, Summer 2012  Photo: Calapooia Watershed Council 



 EPA Launches Video Project Asking Americans Why "Water Is Worth It". To help commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking people to send in a 15-second video clip about the important role that water plays in their life. Each video should include the phrase "Water Is Worth It," but the rest is up to you. EPA will post selected videos on its website and Facebook page. 


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.