The city of Portland and the state of Oregon say they’re partnering to tackle the Portland Harbor cleanup efforts.
Last December, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the entire Portland Harbor site must meet certain goals toward figuring out a cleanup plan by the end of 2019.
The cleanup site spans about 10 miles of the Willamette River starting around Sauvie Island, extending just north of the Broadway Bridge.
Under the new partnership proposal, the city and state will each contribute up to $12 million to a fund that will be used to encourage the groups and companies responsible for cleaning the river to create their own cleanup designs.
"I think something like this is good because it demonstrates leadership by the city and the state of Oregon," said Travis Williams, executive director of the environmental advocacy group Willamette Riverkeeper. "And it’s also the kind of leadership that will hopefully incentivize others in this process to complete their agreements with the EPA and to begin design work to clean up some of this site down at Portland Harbor."
Pollution in the area has been deemed the responsibility of more than 100 different entities including the Port of Portland, Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Chevron USA.
After designs are finalized, the actual cleanup work is expected to cost about $1 billion and take approximately 13 years, according to the EPA.
"Our waters and our lands are some of our most precious resources, and this project will help ensure that they will be enjoyed by generations to come,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a news release. “It’s a great example of how working together brings forward cost-effective solutions.”
The partnership proposal goes to the Portland City Council next week.