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

September 21, 2012 
Photo: Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert by Rick Simpson on facebook
Events, Trips, and Other River Happenings       

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


Fifth Annual RiverFest Celebration Has Events for Everyone! September 21 - 23. "From the Triathlon to kayak tours and from the signature River Fair to SOLVE's RiverFest cleanup,...RiverFest 2012 has something for everyone. ... ...learn about important ecosystems and water health, promote economic activity on the river and enjoy the community with fun, family-friendly activities which are particularly highlighted at the River Fair on Sunday, September 23." RiverFest press release, undated.   


SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup. September 22, 10 am - 1pm. Pick up trash and enhance watershed health at over 100 sites across Oregon--including lots in the Portland area.


5th nationwide prescription drug take-back day. Saturday, September 29, 10 am to 2 pm. Local law enforcement will accept expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. These collections respond to concerns about prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, impacts to aquatic species, and pollution of surface and groundwater resources. Turn in drugs anonymously with no questions asked. 60 Oregon locations participated in March-check here for growing list of locations. Can't make it on the 29th?-there are now over 50 permanent, free pharmaceutical collection sites in Oregon open year round. Thanks to email from Betsy Parry, Oregon Health Authority, Drinking Water Program.


 Celebrate the East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project

September 30, 11am to 4pm; near Springwater Corridor Trail and SE Foster Road. This is one of the stops along the Portland Sunday Parkways bike ride and features music and lots of fun activities including a stormwater obstacle course, Audubon's birds of prey, fish hats and magnets, and games to learn about salmon, plus twice-an-hour tours of the new restoration site.  


2nd Annual State of the Watershed Event at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. October 3rd, 6:30 p.m. 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd "...an evening gathering that will provide information and progress reports on the status of fish, water quality, habitat and restoration projects in the Tryon Creek watershed.  


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. The Willamette River course takes participants down river through the heart of Portland. Registration opens August 19th.    


World Rivers Day, September 30th. "World Rivers Day is a global celebration of the world's waterways [that] highlights the many values of rivers."  


Great Willamette Cleanup. October 6. This is a river-wide paddling and land based cleanup effort hosted by Willamette Riverkeeper.  ...  many registered sites will have canoes and kayaks available for volunteers to reserve... Volunteers will receive a ... t-shirt ..., and, in most locations, will also enjoy a post-cleanup lunch-celebration.10. For more info, contact  staj@welovecleanrivers.org.


Public Comment Period Still Open. A Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Portland Harbor Superfund site was released in July. It describes an approach to identifying restoration actions to compensate for public losses caused by Superfund contamination. The Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council is still accepting comments on the draft plan through Monday October 8, 2012.



 Willamette Falls Festival. October 12-14. Activities will highlight the area's heritage, arts and culture, as well as its natural wonders and outdoor activities. And, of course, it will feature activities that celebrate the Arch Bridge Reopening.  


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Still a chance to enjoy a summer Willamette--Portland Boat Tours schedules final tours of first season



Willamette Falls web cam: Oregon City recently installed a web cam atop the Museum of the Oregon Territory, directly above the scenic pullout on Hwy 99E. Taking a minute for a live-look at one of the wonders of the Pacific Northwest will not be regretted. (Best viewed using Chrome as a browser.)  


Check out City Green-the City of Portland's green infrastructure blog. Find out why this is one of the City's most-visited blog-sites. Events, facts, photos, videos, and more.


Willamette Futures--Help Finish the Film! Jeremy Monroe reports the long-awaited film on the future of the Willamette is in the final stages of production. A final round of funding through individual donations is needed to complete the film. Each donation will be matched by an anonymous local donor toward the goal of raising $15,000. This fundraising campaign is fast-paced and runs only through September 29. To find out more about the project and to donate, click here


Honoring Our Rivers now accepting entries for 2013. Honoring Our Rivers is a student anthology that engages the creative capacities of Oregon residents to promote respect for the Watersheds of Oregon. Any student, kindergarten through college, may submit their work..



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news from neighborhood2Neighborhood


Zidell Makes Plans For Land Close To Downtown Portland. "The Zidell family ... wants to put as many as 30 new buildings on 33 acres of land along the Willamette River. It's a 15-year plan for land that stands between Portland's aerial tram and the new office building being constructed by OHSU in the South Waterfront neighborhood." OPB.org, September 20 (Image: Rivers Office)    


Zidell family reveals plan for South Waterfront land holdings, recruits potential developments. " 'We have the potential to build the types and sizes of buildings not available anywhere else,' said Matt French, the great-grandson of Zidell Cos. founder Sam Zidell, and managing director the family's real estate firm. Their master plan calls for 27 buildings and 3 to 3.5 million square feet of indoor space. Like the rest of the South Waterfront, much of the space will likely be residential with ground floor retail. But the plan also calls for a high-density, office-heavy north end near the light rail connections coming over the bridge." OregonLive.com, September 20


Greening Up A Portland Brownfield Site. "Planners say the redevelopment of the 33-acre Zidell property on Portland's south waterfront offers an opportunity to test some green ideas on a large scale. The city of Portland and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with Zidell to look at the potential for renewable energy and rainwater recycling systems that would serve multiple buildings, as well as eco-roofs, green streets and rain gardens." OPB Ecotrope, September 20


South Waterfront Greenway takes shape. The sheet pile walls that form the foundations for scenic overlooks are now installed. Construction of the vault wall continues-the wall is a system of interlocking concrete boxes supporting the upper portion of the Greenway. When complete, the vaults will be filled with soil and planted with willows and other species native to this section of the Willamette. South Waterfront Greenway Construction Update, September 10 (image: Portland Parks) 


Restoration Plan Approved for River View Cemetery. "River View Cemetery has approved the restoration of over 14 acres of forested land currently covered with highly invasive weeds... The restoration agreement between River View and West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District continues the work accomplished by Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and Metro on 146 acres of adjoining forest purchased by Metro in 2011." West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District media release, September 10.


How Much Storm Water Do Eco-Roofs Capture? "It's pretty well known that eco-roofs can reduce pollution from storm water runoff by capturing it in plants, and slowing its flow into rivers and streams. But exactly how much storm water an eco-roof captures is less clear. ... This week, [Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies] got an $80,000 grant from Oregon BEST to do a study with Portland State University in a lab that will actually simulate different storm conditions and model an eco-roof's performance." OPB Ecotrope, September 13


Overlooked nature in the NoPo bluffs. "Most Portlanders probably don't know much about the steep natural bluffs that run for 7 miles along the Willamette River's east bank, from Pier Park to the Fremont Bridge. ..." Portland Tribune, September 12


steel bridge from broadway bridgePortland's 'century bridges' receive plaques. "Three local bridges that have carried people across the Willamette River for nearly a century were honored today. The Oregon Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers donated a plaque recognizing the Broadway Bridge as a "century bridge" of historic significance to our community. Plaques have also been installed on the Hawthorne Bridge and the Steel Bridge. They each recently celebrated their centennials." KPTV.com, September 13 


Portland Streetcar to open new line this weekend. "The line, called the Central Loop, will connect to the streetcar's current line (now titled the North/South line) in the Pearl District and will have stops in the Rose Quarter, Lloyd District, the Central Eastside Industrial District and OMSI. Cars will cross the Broadway Bridge and primarily travel along Weidler Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue." DJCOregon.com, September 18


2012 Portland Dragon Boat Race Photos. neighborhoodnotes, September 10


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UpriverUpriver tidings
Image: National Park Service.

OSU Develops Model For Predicting Invasive Species Threat; Willamette Waters At Risk For Mud Snails. "But according to the model, Willamette Valley waters are at risk for introduction. ... [Oregon Sea Grant economist Munisamy] Gopinath says that not only could something like an invasive species outbreak harm Oregon's economy, it might irreparably damage ecosystems by killing native and endangered species, and affect aquatic recreation by tying up boat propellers or polluting water." Columbia Basin Bulletin, September 14   



Historical Habitat Change Completed for lower Columbia River. "The Estuary Partnership recently evaluated changes in lower Columbia floodplain habitat over the past 140 years as an important part of our Restoration Prioritization Strategy. ... we compared late 1800's maps with 2010 land cover data ... for the historical floodplain of the tidally influenced, lower 146 miles of river. This marks the first time such a comparison of "pre-development" to current habitat has been calculated for the entire lower Columbia. ... Results showed a 70% loss of vegetated tidal wetlands, which are critical habitats for juvenile salmonids that use the lower river, and 55% of forested uplands...." Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership September Update


Columbia River: Great River of The West (photo essay).  

Columbia River: Composer Tyler Strickland on the music for 'Great River'

OregonLive.com, September 17


Oregon City Arch Bridge to reopen Oct. 15. "The Oregon Department of Transportation recently announced that the Oregon City Arch Bridge will reopen on October 15. The historic structure, the only concrete-covered bridge in the world, has been under construction since late last year. The $11.6 million project is meant to repair corrosion in the concrete." DJCOregon.com, September 4 [subscription req'd for full article]   


Keizer park boat ramp expected to be finished in October. Construction crews expect to finish a boat ramp at Keizer Rapids Park by October...When they are done...boaters will have 37 parking spots with room for 22 boats and trailers. They will also have a new restroom." DJCOregon.com, August 30, 2012 [subscription req'd for full article]


Trail blazer. "Enter Schaefer Jones, a 14-year-old McNary High School freshman who was looking for an Eagle Scout project. Thanks to him, his fellow scouts with Troop 121 and his dad, Douglas, a brand new trail makes getting to the river practically a breeze compared to the arduous climb required before." Keizer Times, September 11


Teens explore Willamette in Huck-Finn style. Statesman Journal, September 14


Dundee Paddle Launch by Chehalem parks good place to get on Willamette River. OregonLive.com, September 13


Fun / Of Note    

Take the current Love Your River challenge: Soap up your car, not your river. "You might think you can save water and energy by sudsing up your vehicle in your own driveway, but the truth is, going to a commercial car wash is the greenest choice ..." Oregon Environmental Council  



Pesticides and salmon: It ain't about the fish. High Country News, September 11.


Federal Beaver Killing Program Subject of Pending Lawsuit in New Mexico. "WildEarth Guardians filed a 60-day notice of intent under the Endangered Species Act to sue the USDA Wildlife Services in New Mexico for its failure to consider the impacts of trapping beaver and the effects this has on associated ponds, and threatened and endangered wildlife, including the Mexican gray wolf and native trout species." WildEarth Guardians media release, September 6.


Around the Water Cooler: Keeping Stormwater In Place. "This week, we're going to focus on the cost of combined sewer systems-to our health, our environment and even our economy. There are hundreds of cities across the country that have combined sewer systems. For example, in New York City, more than 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater discharge out of 460 combined sewer overflows into the New York Harbor alone each year. Think about all the impermeable surfaces in the city: sidewalks, streets, roofs, patios. It's a concrete jungle. To manage stormwater-and set up scenarios to see the impact of development-EPA scientists are developing the Stormwater Calculator that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific site and provides city planners, developers, and property owners a way to calculate the result of specific actions on our waterways. The online tool will be available later this fall." EPA's It All Starts With Science blog, September 6  


Kayaking the Los Angeles River (video). "It's an exciting time for the Los Angeles River. This summer's kayak tours sold out immediately and have been the hottest ticket in town." NRDC Switchboard, September 12  

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.