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Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1000, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Harbor Superfund Program

Portland Harbor Superfund Site

map of Portland HarborOn December 1, 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Portland Harbor site to the National Priorities List (NPL), allowing for site cleanup to be addressed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.”

Portland Harbor has a long history of shipping, industrial, and commercial activity because of its key location on the Willamette River. This area of the river also has historical, natural and cultural resource significance. A joint 1997 EPA-DEQ study showed that the river sediments in Portland Harbor are contaminated with DDT and other pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and petroleum. Based on this information, EPA designated Portland Harbor as a Superfund Site.

EPA is the lead agency for overseeing the in-water work on contaminated sediments. DEQ is the lead agency for upland source investigation and control work, including shoreline properties, where many of the historic contamination sources are located.

This is an unusually complicated Superfund site, one of the most complex in the entire EPA Superfund program. The site:

  • Covers 10 miles of river from the southern end of Sauvie Island to just past the Fremont Bridge
  • Has experienced decades of historical contamination with a variety of pollutants
  • Involves numerous potentially responsible parties
  • Has endangered species act (ESA) considerations
  • And is of great interest to six Native American tribes.

City of Portland Role

The city's role in the Portland Harbor investigation

Portland Harbor Sediment Investigation

Status as of spring 2014

Addressing Sources of Contamination

Ensuring control of contamination sources

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)

Restoring natural resources