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

August 24, 2012
  kayak nose 2
Photo: Rivers Office
Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings       

unrock the bowlUnRock the Bowl. August 25, 9 am to 2 pm. "Rip-rap rocks installed in the 1980's have migrated to the water's edge. We will simply pick these rocks up and put them back on the bank. There are rocks for all ages and sizes, little kid rocks, big boy rocks and everything in between. Under every rock at the waters edge there is sand underneath. At the end of the day, Portland will have a new beach downtown. This will be hard but rewarding work. Drinks and snacks provided. Bring your friends and join the work party!"



Johnson Creek Clean-Up. August 25. Clean-up: 8:45am-Noon; BBQ: Noon-2pm. Fifteen volunteer-led teams will march out to remove harmful trash and debris from key sections of Johnson Creek.    


Crystal Springs Guided Tour! September 8. Starts 9:30 am by foot; 11 by bike; each ends around 12:30 pm. The Crystal Springs Partnership proudly hosts a tour of the Crystal Springs Watershed-one of Portland's most unique natural resources! Bring the family and enjoy the tour led by local experts.


Hot Fish and Cold Beer.  A discussion of stream temperature impacts to native fish. September 11, 6-8pm, 4th Street Brewing , 77 NE 4th Street, Gresham, OR 97030. Torrey Lindbo, Water Quality Specialist for the City of Gresham, will talk about findings from a watershed-wide stream temperature study; Roy Iwai, from Multnomah County's Water Quality Program, will present a slide show of the fish found in the upper Johnson Creek watershed during a 2011-12 fish survey. RSVP to amy@jcwc; 503-652-7477. 


 2nd Annual Industry&Art: Celebrating the Worker. September 20-23. Vigor Industrial Shipyard on Swan Island. "Using paint, pen and pencil, film, steel and even found objects, this fall more than 30 artists from around the Pacific Northwest will offer the public a glimpse into the dynamic, seldom-seen world of Portland's working waterfront community, its industries and extraordinary tradespeople." 


McCarthy Creek Clean-up. September 22, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. Join West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District in helping clean up and restore McCarthy Creek, as part of the statewide SOLVE Beach & Riverside Cleanup Day.


RiverFest. September 23, Cathedral Park. A family-friendly chance to come down by the riverside, get out on the water, enjoy live music, learn first-hand about the river's history and environment, clean-up the riverbank, and view river spectacles.


row for cure  

Portland Row for the Cure. September 30. The 19th Annual Row for the Cure is the rowing and water-sports community's crusade against breast cancer, having raised over $1.1 million to benefit local affiliates of Komen for the Cure. The Willamette River course takes participants down river through the heart of Portland, beginning and ending at the Hawthorne Bridge. Registration opens August 19th. 


Go to top of News

news from neighborhood2Neighborhood
jumping in
Let's jump in and transform our river, city--MyView * Its time for us to stop worrying and learn to love the Willamette. "there is one important ingredient missing from Portland summers. Something right under our noses that will transform our city forever, make Portland the world-class city we all want it to be, and exponentially increase our quality of life. That's right, the Willamette River." Portland Tribune, August 22 (Rivers Office photo by Kevin Kilduff)

Volunteers will rock out on river beach. Big Floats Levenson jumps into creating downtown swim spot. "There's a big beach party happening Saturday, Aug. 25, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but leave the flip flops and beach towels at home. Volunteers are invited to an "Unrock the Bowl" cleanup event at the Hawthorne Bowl, just north of RiverPlace, in a work project designed to make it into a more-appealing, swimming beach." Portland Tribune, August 22


Willamette River event seeks to create beach by removing rocks. OregonLive.com, August 23  


PGE to Evaluate Willamette River Sediment Cleanup Options around Hawthorne Bridge. "PGE will continue to investigate sediment contamination on the east bank of the Willamette River just upstream of the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. PGE recently completed an investigation into the nature, extent and potential risks of sediment contamination, primarily related to known releases of polychlorinated biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, and into potential upland pollution sources in the vicinity." DEQ News Release, August 14


crystal springs culvertRemoval of fish passage barrier on Crystal Springs Creek began Aug. 3. "Union Pacific Railroad..., the City of Portland and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project... are working together to replace a Crystal Springs Creek culvert under the ... tracks just east of SE McLoughlin Boulevard. ... The work is part of a Portland Bureau of Environmental Services project to replace eight culverts on Crystal Springs Creek that block fish access to salmon habitat." Portland Bureau of Environmental Services City Green Blog, August 14. Image: TriMet.    


West Hayden Island Proposed Draft Released. "The WHI Proposed Draft responds to City Council's direction (Resolution #36805) to develop a legislative proposal for the possible annexation of West Hayden Island, including a concept plan for no more than 300 acres of marine industrial development and no fewer than 500 acres of protected open and recreational space... The release of the proposed draft plan kicks off two months of public outreach and discussion." Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, August 14


Bureau lays out plans for West Hayden Island annexation. "The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on Tuesday released its latest draft plan for the annexation of West Hayden Island. The plan details the island's potential use, specifically excluding coal and liquid gas use, which the city of Portland would prohibit. Other details include street improvements to Hayden Island Drive, which surrounds the island, and various community mitigation strategies, such as a Community Benefit Grant Program, which would create a fund that neighborhoods in the area could use toward other projects." DJCOregon.com, August 15

sturgeon lake
Sturgeon Lake, by lumachrome on flickr


Sauvie Island lake stuck in muck-Sturgeon Lake, center of thriving wildlife refuge, is on death spiral. "For decades, the future has appeared dim for the largest lake on Sauvie Island, one of the biggest freshwater islands in the country. That's because a chronically congested creek that feeds into the lake has stymied the steady ebb and flow of clear water needed to flush out incoming sediment. ... Many presumed solutions are under consideration as scientists continue to study the lake's shifting hydrology." Portland Tribune, August 15





Boat slams into kayaker on the Willamette. "A camera was rolling as a boat slammed into a kayaker on the Willamette River." KPTV.com, August 14

Marine Board's No Wake Compliance Efforts Continue at Holgate Channel & Ross Island Lagoon. Oregon State Marine Board



UpriverUpriver tidings

swan island esplanade Willamette officially a national water trail--The federal designation is aimed at getting more people to take to the river for recreation. "The Willamette River on Monday officially joined a growing list of rivers nationwide designated by the federal government as 'national water trails.' A burgeoning number of kayakers, canoers and others have been taking to the Willamette in recent years, and federal officials said the new designation is meant to underscore the waterway's recreational value." registerguard.com, August 14


Willamette Lauded for Access, Named "National Water Trail". OPB.org, August 13




More than 100 float downriver in Great Independence-to-Salem Willamette River Raft Race. StatesmanJournal.com, August 11 (See video of 2011 race here)




Riverfront park to be first of several revitalizing projects in Milwaukie. "The $9 million project would turn the uninspired Willamette riverbank adjacent to Milwaukie's downtown into a landscaped park with an amphitheater, restrooms, pathways and a new boat ramp." DJCOregon.com, August 16


 Albany: Edgewater Village site plan submitted. "Developers of Edgewater Village have submitted a new layout of the residential project along the Willamette [that] calls for a planned unit development of 58 single-family homes between Water Avenue and the river." democratherald.com, August 16


 Algae at Albany Water Gardens said of "no concern". "A thick mat of unsightly algae has covered a good part of the ponds at Talking Water Gardens, the award-winning artificial wetlands built to cool and filter treated wastewater from the Albany sewage treatment plant. But the installation seems to be cooling the water flowing through, as intended." democratherald.com, August 15


Salem ponders its river crossing options. "Members of the Salem River Crossing Task Force have been meeting for six years to determine what, if anything, should be done to improve traffic across the Willamette River. They voted on Wednesday to recommend a new $630 million bridge to connect West Salem directly to the Salem Parkway and Interstate 5. However, doing nothing ran a close second." DJCOregon.com, August 16


Fun / Of Note    


Superfund Cleanup Stirs Troubled Waters. "More than three decades after the program was established by Congress to clean up the most heavily polluted sites in the country, either by forcing those responsible to pay or by covering the cost with money from a special fund, [EPA] is now taking on the most expensive and most technically complex cleanups ever attempted - large stretches of urban waterways where the pollution is out of sight. But there are lingering doubts about the best ways to handle such immense cleanups." New York Times, August 13


Federal Water Mandates Blowing a Hole in Municipal Budgets, Local Leaders Say. "Hawkins and six other local government officials were witnesses for a Congressional hearing about the EPA's new integrated planning framework for stormwater and sewers. ... The integrated framework lets communities shuffle the sequence of water-quality projects, allowing the most beneficial improvements to be pursued first. The framework is part of a broader debate about how to balance ecosystems, public health, and financial constraints, in this, the 40th year of the Clean Water Act." Circle of Blue, August 23


Study: Freshwater Fish Species Going Extinct At Rate 877 Times Faster Than Rate In Fossil Record. "From 1900-2010, freshwater fish species in North America went extinct at a rate 877 times faster than the rate found in the fossil record, while estimates indicate the rate may double between now and 2050. ...Natural causes of fish extinction are linked to transitions in landforms and continental watercourses over time, but many twentieth century extinctions were caused by dams, channelization of rivers, water pollution, and other human-induced factors. ... Declines in freshwater fishes are only the "tip of the iceberg" for freshwater ecosystems, with mussels and snails experiencing declines greater than that of freshwater fishes." Columbia Basin Bulletin, August 17

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.