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City of Portland Launches Public Survey on Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup

News Release

March 7, 2016
For immediate release
For more information contact Linc Mann, 823-5328,

This spring, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose a cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, a decision that will affect all Portlanders.

The city will prepare a formal response to EPA’s proposed cleanup plan. In preparation, the city is asking Portlanders to share what they value most about the cleanup by participating in an online survey.

“The city is working with regulators, other potentially responsible parties and interested parties to ensure a successful Portland Harbor cleanup; protect community interests; and consider the impact of cleanup options on all river users,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “The survey results will convey Portlanders’ values around the river, and shape the city’s comments to EPA.”

The survey was developed by a Portland State University College of Urban and Public Affairs program called Oregon’s Kitchen Table, which facilitates community engagement on complex issues. Oregon’s Kitchen Table is working with a variety of organizations to encourage participation.

“We want to hear from the community before we comment on any proposed plan,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish.” The ‘Kitchen Table’ survey is one tool that will help us better understand the values and priorities of the people we serve.”

The survey opened today (Monday, March 7, 2016) and will remain open through March 31. In addition to gathering feedback from the community, the city’s public engagement efforts will provide information about when and how Portlanders can participate in EPA’s formal public comment period on the proposed cleanup plan.

Beginning today, the survey as well as additional information about the Portland Harbor cleanup, is available online at Hard copies are available by calling Sarah Giles at 503-725-5248. The survey has been translated into five languages.

About the Portland Harbor Superfund Site
Portland Harbor has a long history of shipping, industrial and commercial activity because of its key location on the Willamette River. That activity has led to contamination, and in 2000 the EPA listed Portland Harbor as a Superfund Site. The EPA has identified about 150 potentially responsible parties (PRPs). Many are companies or land owners that operated industrial facilities along the river and whose activities may have contributed to the contamination.

Key next steps in the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup process include EPA’s announcement of a proposed cleanup plan, followed by a 60-day public comment period. EPA’s record of decision, or final cleanup plan, is anticipated in December 2016.

About the City’s Role in the Portland Harbor Superfund
The City of Portland has a unique role in Portland Harbor. The city is a steward of this important community resource, a regulator, and may ultimately be liable for some of the cleanup and restoration of Portland Harbor, mainly due to the potential of the city stormwater system to carry contamination from upland areas to the river. The city got involved early in the process to ensure that the interests of Portlanders were represented in the initial investigation and data collection phase of this complex process.