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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

State and City Announce New Partnership for Cleaning Up the Willamette River


UPDATE – May 22, 2019

Portland Harbor Superfund Site, Image Courtesy Port of Portland

Today, City Council unanimously approved the partnership with the State and EPA. It's an important milestone in the cleanup of a 10-mile stretch of the Portland Harbor.

The partnership establishes a trust fund that will enable the City to meet its fiscal obligations for the design phase in a thoughtful, responsible way – while increasing legal certainty. It's also intended to encourage other parties to come to the table, but will not subsidize private parties or absolve them of their liability.

May 10, 2019

Today, the State of Oregon and City of Portland announced a new, unique partnership that will help move the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup forward.

In December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the entire Portland Harbor Superfund site needed to meet significant milestones toward the next phase of the cleanup by the end of 2019. This phase, called Remedial Design, is when scientists and engineers design the technical elements and work plans for the cleanup.

In response to EPA, the State and City proposed an innovative approach that efficiently leverages public investment to encourage private parties to begin design work. EPA has signaled their support of the concept.

Under the proposal, the State and City will form a trust, administered by EPA, which will provide funds to private parties who sign agreements with EPA to generate cleanup plans. EPA will credit the State and City for their cleanup responsibilities for each dollar spent from the Trust.

The State and City will each contribute up to $12 million to the trust, for a total of up to $24 million. Private parties who agree to the terms set by the EPA, State, and City will receive $80,000 per acre to help fund design work. The private parties remain responsible for all costs above and beyond $80,000 per acre.

By pooling and capping public resources, the public trust funds will be spent on actual cleanup design work as opposed to administrative costs associated with negotiating with other parties at multiple locations, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public dollars.

This is a creative approach among Superfund sites, and represents a major step forward toward a clean, safe Willamette River.


News Release: The State of Oregon and the City of Portland Propose a New Partnership for a Safer, Cleaner Willamette River

Bureau of Environmental Services Joint Press Release


Portland Harbor Superfund Agreement Aims to Drive New Cleanup Plans Throughout the Lower Willamette River

EPA Press Release


Portland City Council Approves Funding for Superfund Cleanup Plans

Erin Ross in OPB News


Council Approves $24 Million Superfund Cleanup Planning Agreement

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland City Council Set to Contribute to Willamette River Superfund Cleanup

Bob Heye in KATU News


City Council Considers Proposal for Portland Harbor Cleanup Fund

Erin Ross in OPB News


Your City Hall: City, State, EPA May Join Forces to Clean Up Harbor Toxins

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Cleanup of the Lower Willamette River on the Way

Dredging Today News Staff


Portland, Oregon, and EPA Partner for Superfund Cleanup

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune


Portland, State of Oregon Team Up to Pay for Willamette River Superfund Cleaning

OPB News Staff


City, State in $24M Deal to Spur Portland Harbor Superfund Work

Pete Danko in the Portland Business Journal


Sources: Portland Superfund Talks in High Gear

Jim Redden in the Portland Tribune