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One hundred fifty kayakers and canoeists are setting out on the Willamette River Monday. Over the next five days, the group will travel more than a 100 miles as part of the 13th annual Paddle Oregon.
About 2,000 runners filled the shore of the Willamette River in a run of support for Boston.
Oregon Health Authority officials are telling residents to avoid contact with the water in the Willamette River between Ross Island and the Fremont Bridge.
The South Waterfront Greenway Central District project opened to the public on Thursday, May 14th, offering a convergence of park space, trails, and wildlife habitat along the edge of the Willamette River.
This week on State of Wonder, Maurice Sendak goes to the opera, retro-tinged indie pop with Radiation City, darkness and light with photographer Holly Andres, and Snohetta's big plans for Portland's James Beard Market and Willamette Falls, and the Portland Ballet. Mauric Sendak Goes to the Opera - 0:00 Maurice Sendak is beloved for his emotionally stormy and distinctive children’s books like "Where the Wild Things Are" and "In the Night Kitchen," but the Portland Opera is giving us a chance to appreciate his lesser-known work — as a passionate fan of and set designer for opera. The Portland Opera's general director, Christopher Mattaliano, worked with Sendak on his first opera, "The Magic Flute," in 1981 and is restaging it May 6-14 for the first time in over a decade. Mattaliano tells us about his friendship with Sendak and how the great artist simply loved opera. Radiation City - 7:30 Local indie-pop band Radiation City's lineup was famous for featuring two couples...and infamous for its in-fighting. So when co-founders Lizzy Ellison and Cameron Spies finally split, it was an open question: could the show go on? Their new album, Synesthetica, charts calamity and a path out of it, adding a new level of polish and maturity to the band's signature take on retro-pop. Holly Andres - 15:08 Photographer Holly Andres — who has shot for "Vanity Fair," the "New York Times," and other A-list clients — captures scenes packed with emotion, intrigue, and mystery. She has a show on view at Charles Hartman Fine Art in Portland called “The Fallen Fawn” (through May 28) about two young girls who discover an unexpected treasure. We dive into it with Tricia Hoffman, executive director of The Newspace Gallery (which currently has a show up featuring photography shot inside prisons), for another review in our "What Are You Looking At?" series. Snøhetta - 21:00 Columnist-in-residence Randy Gragg takes us into the world of Snøhetta, an internationally-renowned architecture firm (think Times Square, the new SF Museum of Modern Art, and the Library of Alexandria) about to embark on two projects in Oregon: the James Beard Public Market in Portland, and the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon City. The first ever U.S. retrospective of the firm's work, "Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects," is on-view at the AIA Center for Architecture through June 30. The Portland Ballet - 31:10 Oregon Art Beat recently profiled some big changes at the Portland Ballet, a ballet school in Hillsdale that seeks to bridge the gap between Balanchine and Queen (yes, as in "Bohemian Rhapsody") in their quest to train professional dancers. Their spring concert (May 6–7) features the Portland premiere of Trey McIntyre's Queen-fueled ballet, "Mercury Half-Life," alongside Balanchine and a world premiere from Portland's own Gregg Bielemeier.
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.
Dean Hall joins host Geoff Norcross on the bank of the Willamette river, near OPB.