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Think Out Loud

The Many Uses Of The Clackamas River

Pete Springer/OPB

The Clackamas River may not be as recognizable as the Deschutes, the Willamette, or the Columbia rivers. But it’s just as important for many Oregonians. It’s used for recreation, salmon passage, and drinking water. And, as the Portland metro area grows (pdf), so will the demand on the river. Nearly 400,000 Oregonians get their drinking water from the Clackamas, with several other municipalities hoping to join in.

The lower stretch of the Clackamas has some challenges to deal with.  Low levels of pollutants have been found in the water, and its not yet known what effect they might have on the drinking water. Drownings occur every year when crowds flock to the river in the summer.

But the upper river is pristine wildlife habitat where fish populations are increasing. The area at the headwaters is so ideal that it has been chosen as location to try to reintroduce the decimated Bull Trout population to Northwest rivers.

We’ll talk to OPB’s Rob Manning and Cassandra Profita, who are profiling the Clackamas River this week in a series of stories on its many uses. 

Do you swim in or drink from the Clackamas River? Do you live near the river? How does it affect your life?

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