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State public health officials on Tuesday issued a warning about the water of the Willamette River.
News | local | NW Life | OPB News BlogJuly 3, 2014 7 a.m.
Here's a map of Dean Hall's 184-mile journey to becoming the first person to swim the length of the Willamette River.
State officials are testing water from a stretch of the Willamette River near downtown Portland. The tests come after a trail of scum appeared in the river between Ross Island and the Fremont Bridge.
Environment | News | local | OPB News BlogSept. 23, 2014 9:42 p.m.
The toxic blue-green algae in the Willamette River effectively took away the end of summer on part of the waterway. This is the first time OHA has documented a bloom in the Willamette River.
Sports | News | local | OPB News BlogSept. 19, 2014 7:51 p.m.
The Portland Triathlon has been forced to change its course this year due to the toxic scum floating in the Willamette River.
The Oregon Health Authority says it's now safe to go in the Willamette River near Portland. It's living a toxic algae warning that's been in place since mid-September.
The Portland Harbor was declared a Superfund site in 2000, and some clean up has taken place, but most awaits the final EPA decision, expected in the spring.
News | local | RecreationJuly 24, 2015 7:45 p.m.
The Big Float on the Willamette River is this weekend and swimmers don't need to worry about toxic algae.
The Willamette River's Superfund site has had a long and contentious history ever since it was designated as a federally-mandated clean-up site back in 2000. Now the Lower Willamette Group has released a feasibility study, which it says has taken many years and $96 million to conduct. The Environmental Protection Agency will look at the various options and recommend a plan over the coming years. The costliest and longest option would be $1.7 billion and take 28 years to complete. We'll find out what happens next, and who decides.
The Willamette River looked much different 160 years ago. According to historical mapping (pdf) conducted by Stan Gregory, a researcher at Oregon State, and others, there used to be more islands, more side channels and a more consistent connection between the river and its floodplain. But that "wildness" was largely contained to allow farmers to grow crops closer to the river without fear of flooding. River traffic benefited, too. Travis Williams, the executive director of Willamette Riverkeeper, thinks the Willamette River has become too straight and too simple. He says that it's time to reconnect the Willamette River with its traditional floodplain. According to Williams, changes would benefit sensitive species by increasing habitat. He says that people can benefit from the changes, too. That's because increasing the ground area available to a river can mitigate the effects of extreme flooding. But some farmers with frontage on the Willamette don't like the idea of retangling the river. Randy Henderson, the owner of Thistledown Farm, says that this will result in lost farmland. And with increasing pressure on farms to give way to development, it's a sensitive subject.
We talk with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cami Grandinetti and environmentalist Travis Williams about the EPA’s draft clean up plan for the Willamette River Superfund site. The agency is collecting public comments over the next two months.
Environment | News | local | Think Out LoudJune 15, 2016 3:39 p.m.
We learn about the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft clean-up plan for the Willamette River Superfund site. And we take you on a radio road trip down route 395 from Pendleton to John Day.
Since 1995, Jonnel Covault has documented the iconic river through her linocut prints, exploring the Willamette’s bridges, tree-lined banks and rushing water.