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

June 15, 2012
2011 Will Sailing Club Wooden Boat Festival big 
Photo: 2011 Willamette Sailing Club Wooden Boat Festival by Kevin Kilduff, Rivers Office


              Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings  

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.
Slough Tour: CSO Bike Ride. June 20, 7:00-8:30pm. Meet at  Wastewater Treatment Plant, 5001 N Columbia Blvd. "Join the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and ... the City of Portland to learn about water flow, water treatment, and the 99% elimination of Combined Sewer Overflows in the Lower Slough. Discuss the history of the Big Pipe Project and Portland's water treatment facilities as you bike along the scenic Columbia Slough Trail and Smith & Bybee Wetlands. Bring your bike, helmet (required), and a camera! Suitable for adults and kids 10+; pre-registration requested at www.columbiaslough.org.
West Hayden Island Draft Plan Open Houses, June 20 and July 17. Learn about the draft plan; talk with City staff and community members about community benefits, natural resources, transportation, and technical studies.
River Discovery Trip: Willamette Narrows. June 21, 6-9 pm. "Explore one of the most unique and beautiful reaches of the Willamette river! Located above Willamette Falls, Willamette Narrows is known for its scenic rocky shores and islands. ... Register with Kate at 503-223-6418. Riverkeeper's tandem canoes are available upon request, though you must recruit your own paddling partner." Willamette Riverkeeper 
swan island esplanadePortland Harbor Behind the Scenes: Goods to Market: How Port Facilities Work. June 23, 9 am - 1 pm. Port of Portland Terminal 6. "[Terminals are] typically closed to the public due to federal security regulations, [but you'll get to] tour among the shadows of towering 16-story cranes and giant multicolored containers stacked up like Legos....
Three timeslots available. All ages welcome at 9-10 a.m. tour; 14+ years of age at 10 a.m.-12 p.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. tours. RSVP required: Brooke Berglund, 503.415.6532.
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
swan island esplanade
  Recess on the Intertwine-Call for Adventures. June 20th - August 30th. "Help ... promote the region's special outdoor places! The Intertwine Alliance in partnership with KEEN Footwear is hosting Recess on The Intertwine this summer. Your mission: ... get outside, have a grand time exploring The Intertwine, and share your adventure with the community for a chance to win a colorful new pair of kicks. One contestant will be selected each week July 1st through August 30th to have their adventure featured on The Intertwine website and will win a pair of KEEN shoes." The Intertwine Alliance (The Intertwine refers to the amazing network of parks, trails and natural areas in the Portland-Vancouver area.)

New River Stories site launched. "River Stories is a collection of photos, video, and cultural and historical facts about water trails [hosted by American Rivers and the National Park Service]. Like hiking trails, these water trails help people discover rivers and provide a connection between urban and rural communities and the great outdoors. Click here to view River Stories." Editor's note: Although this site looks brand new, with only a few stories so far, they're all from back East (not that there's any wrong with that). But it seems like an open opportunity to make a big  Willamette River Water Trail splash-here's a chance to let your stories flow!    

SummerSummer 2012 on the River!
Click here 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

Holgate no wake sign 

Willamette bridge construction, no-wake zone will slow river traffic, increase 'river rage' potential. "Bridge construction at both ends of Ross Island and a relatively new slow-speed no-wake zone on the Holgate Channel will slow traffic on a stretch of river that normally churns with water skiers, wakeboarders and other pleasure-craft users on hot days and balmy evenings. Add a growing armada of human-powered craft -- stand-up paddle boards, rowing shells, outrigger canoes, kayaks and dragon boats -- that favor the same stretch of scenic water, and the potential grows for accidents and 1river rage.' "Watch video tips for safe Willamette boating.  OregonLive.com, June 15
(Image: Oregon State Marine Board)



Portland Harbor aerial Harbor cleanup stirs possibilities for all. "Plans to clean up the Portland Harbor could include new recreation areas and industries along the Willamette River. It took more than 100 years to pollute the Portland Harbor to the point where it was declared a national Superfund site. Portland-area residents hope it will take considerably less time to restore the northernmost stretch of the Willamette River to a better condition. Local residents, though, want something more than just clean water and unpolluted sediment following a river cleanup. They appropriately desire other benefits from one of this community's greatest resources." Portland Tribune Opinion, June 14


How Toxic Is This Catfish From Columbia Slough?"Daniel Pop doesn't care for salmon. He grew up in Romania catching carp, catfish, perch. They're bottom-feeders that like dirty water, he said: 'They've got the stink.' " OPB Ecotrope, June 13  


Creative umbrella sculpture handles stormwater. "Many Oregonians know of the $1.4 billion Big Pipe public works project in which Portland's built environment was replumbed. But smaller stormwater management systems also are needed around the city to prevent raw sewage and stormwater from spilling into the Willamette River and Columbia Slough. KPFF Consulting Engineers is taking a new, artistic approach to spread the word about its creative stormwater projects. The firm recently released the first short video in a planned series, called "Stormwater Cinema," that focuses on innovative stormwater collaborations." DJCOregon.com, June 6


Industrial-Size Eco-Roofs Near Portland Harbor. "Two eco-roofs at the Gunderson train and barge manufacturing plant in Portland add about 3,500 square feet of habitat and stormwater control to the industrial property on the Willamette River." OPB Ecotrope, June 13


How does a forest recover? Lewis & Clark study of River View Natural Area may yield answers. "River View Natural Area was purchased last year from River View Cemetery for $11.5 million ... by the Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks and Recreation, Metro and the Trust for Public Land. ... The 146 acres are home to seven streams, which play a role in reducing water temperatures in the Willamette River, and it provides critical habitat for wildlife. ... Lewis & Clark College ecologists [will] go about tracking the forest's progress after the initial removal of invasives...by doing annual surveys -- observing how the abundance of plant species changes over time." OregonLive.com, May 30   


2012 Johnson Creek State of the Watershed Report released. "This report discusses the Johnson Creek Watershed area in terms of fish and wildlife, shade and temperature, streamflow, turbidity, pollution and a 2020 vision for the creek." Johnson Creek Watershed Council, June 11  

UP tries new approach for master plan.  "The University of Portland is eager to start developing the 35-acre parcel along the Willamette River that it purchased in 2008 - so much, in fact, that it's using a unique approach. By the end of summer, university officials hope to build a baseball field on the new "River Campus" - a former industrial site at the foot of a steep bluff that runs along the edge of the main campus. ...In order to build the baseball field on the new riverfront property, the university  ... decided to create an ambitious new master plan ... The new master plan also provides room for the university to continue expanding further along the Willamette River. The proposed northern boundary would be a 45-acre site that the university does not own. ... But the university may someday be interested in purchasing the site, known as McCormick and Baxter, in order to expand its recreation facilities." DJCOregon.com, June 11    Subscription req'd for entire article.      


Centennial Mills 


PDC hopes to identify Centennial Mills developer in July.  DJCOregon.com, June 5  Subscription req'd for entire article.

ODOT says eastside property is available for development"Development is continuing to take place in Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District - except on three plots of land between Southeast Water Avenue and Interstate 5. The plots, between Southeast Taylor and Madison streets, are owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation. The 70,000-square-foot property is one of the few vacant ones remaining in the district, but it has long been considered untouchable by developers and district business owners because of a city proposal to build a tunnel for I-5 in the area. However, according to ODOT officials, the property is open for development - and has been for awhile."  DJCOregon.com, June 12  Subscription req'd for entire article. 


swan island esplanade  

City water lab celebrates quiet anniversary. "...the $13 million building has become a landmark in the St. Johns neighborhood since it opened in 1997. ... 'It's sort of a conspicuous building, but most people have no idea what goes on inside of it,' says Brian Laurent, a permit manager in the lab's Industrial Source Control Division. ... People walk past the lab each day using the riverside Willamette Greenway Trail. Lab staff and community groups use the building's multipurpose conference rooms daily. Nonprofits are allowed to use it for free." Portland Tribune, June 14   



Vanport flood left changes in wake-Portland's history, institutions owe a debt to 1948 disaster. "A railroad embankment serving as a levy gave way, and within 45 minutes, the entire city of 18,500 people was under several feet of water and gone for good." Portland Tribune, June 7 

UpriverUpriver tidings


Saving More Than Just Salmon In The Columbia. "Scientists who study the Columbia River estuary say salmon are hogging too much of the restoration spotlight. ..."  OPB Ecotrope, June 1


For First Time, More Stellar Sea Lions (ESA-Listed) Than California Sea Lions In Lower Columbia. Columbia Basin Bulletin, June 1



Lots of fish to catch on Columbia River, including one-million shad counted at Bonneville.
Seattle Times, June 12. (Image: USGS Col. R. Research Lab) 



Celilo Salmon Feast Is More Vibrant Than Ever, Despite Flood. Indian Country, June 13 


Fisherman's Wrath-A campaign targeting gillnetters takes class war to the Columbia River. "It's not really about the fish, as the gillnetters see it. It's about Old Oregon vs. New Oregon. Old Oregon is logging, fishing and hard living, every day. New Oregon is craft brewing, JavaScript coding and occasional nature walks-or, at least, selling bait and tackle once a year to tourists who can afford such things." Willamette Week, June 13

 Lake River paddle 2012

Big Paddle aims to blaze a water trail."... the Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation's "Big Paddle" event, a 5-mile round-trip journey between the Ridgefield Marina and Columbia River, [was] a way to celebrate National Trails Day and raise public awareness for an 18-agency effort to plan a way to turn regional waterways into a Clark County water trail system for recreational non-motorized boaters." The Columbian, June 2


 Over 100 paddlers at Big Paddle National Trails Day event. " 'The Big Paddle' - a celebration of the Lake & Lewis Water Trails in Ridgefield, WA. RTCA worked with Vancouver/Clark County Parks & Recreation, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and Ridgefield Kayak, Ridgefield Nat'l Wildlife Refuge and others to plan the water trails and host the event." National Park Service, RTCA Facebook, June 4

Public reviews proposed Willamette Falls National Heritage Area. "The Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition seeks public input on the draft of its feasibility study for the proposed Willamette Falls National Heritage Area. The Coalition is working to become a National Heritage Area in order to protect, enhance, share and enjoy the region that stretches along the Willamette River from the mouth of the Clackamas River to the mouth of the Tualatin River."  The Oregon City News, June 13     

oregon city panorama 

Oregon City Arch Bridge expected to be finished on time despite delays. "The delays and costs stem from complications related to the 89-year-old bridge's unique makeup. The bridge is the only concrete-covered steel bridge in the world, said Wayne Statler, ODOT project manager. Conde McCullough, designer of the bridge, designed it that way to protect its steel rods from chemicals given off by mills in the area. Nonetheless, the rods had been damaged, ODOT discovered, and many of them had to be replaced."  DJCOregon.com, June 12  (Subscription req'd for entire article) 


ODOT progresses on "twin" bridge for Willamette River project between Eugene/Springfield. "Crews are starting to shape the arches of the northbound crossing of the Willamette River Bridge project, which is the Oregon Department of Transportation's largest replacement project ever. The Interstate-5 bridges, which connect the cities of Eugene and Springfield, are also the agency's first to use a construction manager/general contractor delivery system."  DJCOregon.com, June 11


Go to top of News  


Fun / Of Note    


 Eating invasive species: Conservation through gastronomy. "In addition to crafty recipes for barbecue pork ribs (made from feral swine), fried crayfish tails, garlic mustard pesto, pigeon pie, nutria sausage, Asian carp ceviche and other curiosities, the ["The Invasive Species Cookbook: Conservation through Gastronomy" by J.M. Franke] also has really nice background on the species themselves, where they came from, how to find them and words of wisdom on preparing them well (like "Make sure you know the difference between kudzu and poison ivy!")." OPB Ecotrope, March 4 2011


Wanted: Your Thoughts On The Clean Water Act. "The Clean Water Act is turning 40 this year. To mark the occasion, Ecotrope, EarthFix and InvestigateWest are teaming up to size up the landmark environmental law in a long-term reporting project we're calling Clean Water: The Next Act. ... To launch this project, we'd like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the successes and/or failures of the Clean Water Act? How does the law affect your and people you know?"  OPB Ecotrope, May 31


Freshwater Trust builds market for water quality. "But as soon as Obama mentioned the Rogue River Valley during the March conservation speech, Joe Whitworth, president of the Portland-based Freshwater Trust, was doing a quiet fist-pump in the audience. Even if the story wasn't exactly straight, the president's mention of Freshwater Trust's new water quality trading program was a fitting tribute for something that took years to put together and holds huge potential for both Oregon's rivers and its economy."  Sustainable Business Oregon, May 22


Go to top of News  

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.