Oregon Dept. of State Lands
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News Release
Oregon to receive $1 million grant for Columbia Slough cleanup - 05/25/23


Cleanup will enhance water habitat, recreation at Moore and Wright Islands Natural Area in North Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – A state-led environmental cleanup effort to enhance fish and wildlife habitat and recreation in Columbia Slough has been selected to receive a $1 million federal grant. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the cleanup of in-water sediment at Moore and Wright Islands Natural Area is among the projects selected to receive grants totaling more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs. This is the highest funding level ever announced in the history of the Brownfields Program. Read the full EPA announcement. 

“Cleaning up the contaminated sediment along these islands contributes to a thriving Columbia Slough,” said Vicki Walker, director of the Oregon Department of State Lands, which oversees the state’s publicly owned waterways.  “This funding supports not only improved habitat and slough health but also renewed access to fishing and recreation in North Portland.” 

The natural area, located in the lower Columbia Slough, is adjacent to the former Pacific Carbide manufacturing plant. Prior to the 1980s, waste entered the slough from the plant’s settling pond. Sediment sampling near the site indicates elevated concentrations of PCBs, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, calcium from lime waste, and heavy metals. 

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will oversee the cleanup, which will address in-water  sediment contamination as outlined in the Columbia Slough cleanup plan and aim to improve habitat and provide safer recreation for the community. For example, removing contamination will help revive the organisms that fish, birds, and mammals that rely on, as well as providing safer fish for humans to eat. 

Grant funds also will be used to develop a public participation plan, conduct seven community meetings, and perform other community outreach activities.

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Photos of Moore and Wright Islands Natural Area are available on DSL’s Box.com site.

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