Portland Harbor Superfund Site | Region 10 | US EPA

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Portland Harbor Superfund Site

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Alanna Conley (conley.alanna@epa.gov)

Lead State Agency:
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Exit EPA disclaimer

Community Advisory Group:
Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group Exit EPA disclaimer

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Map showing general area of concern for pollution at the Portland Harbor Superfund site
key milestones for Portland Harbor site cleanup

Timeline of key milestones in the Superfund cleanup process (click on image for larger view).

Site Summary

The Portland Harbor Superfund Site in Portland, Oregon, is the result of more than a century of industrial use along the Willamette River.

Water and sediments along Portland Harbor are contaminated with many hazardous substances, including heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dioxin, and pesticides. These compounds have been found to be harmful to people and the environment. Because of the contamination, some types of fish found in Portland Harbor, such as bass, carp and catfish currently pose a health risk to those who eat them.

Portland Harbor was added to EPA's National Priorities List in December 2000. The current study area extends from the Columbia Slough to the Broadway Bridge.

EPA and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are working with potentially responsible parties to clean up contaminated sediment and control sources of additional contamination.

Current status

We’re developing a proposed cleanup plan which we anticipate completing in the spring of 2016. When released, there will be a series of public meetings to discuss the proposed plan. You will have an opportunity review the plan and submit formal public comments.

Community Information Sessions

It’s not yet time for the proposed plan or public comment. But it’s time to engage with EPA to learn more, ask questions and hear information about Portland Harbor so you will be ready before the Plan is released.

Come to one of the upcoming community information sessions offered by EPA to learn more about Portland Harbor Superfund Site and the options we are considering for cleaning up the river. The sessions will include:

  • Portland Harbor background, health risks and why EPA is taking action;
  • Information about cleanup options;
  • Next steps for public participation/comment during the Proposed Plan release.


  • Thursday, February 4, Portland City Building Auditorium (1120 SW 5th Ave, 2nd Floor Auditorium)
    • Open house: 11:30am-12pm
    • Information and discussion session: 12pm-1:30pm
  • Thursday, February 11, Matt Dishman Community Center (77 NE Knott St, Portland)
    • Open house: 6:30pm-7pm
    • Information and discussion session: 7pm-8:30pm
  • Thursday, February 18, Woodrow Wilson High School Cafeteria (1151 SW Vermont St, Portland)
    • Open house: 6pm-6:30pm
    • Information and discussion session: 6:30pm-8pm
  • Thursday, March 3, Live webinar - online information session. More information to be announced.
  • Thursday, March 17, SE Multicultural Center (4610 SE Belmont St, Portland)
    • Open house: 6pm-6:30pm
    • Information and discussion session: 6:30pm-8pm
  • Saturday, March 19, Matt Dishman Community Center (77 NE Knott St, Portland)
    • Open house: 11:30am-12pm
    • Information and discussion session: 12pm-1:30pm
  • Saturday, March 26, OMSI - Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (1945 SE Water Ave, Portland)
    • Open house: 11:30am-12pm
    • Information and discussion session: 12pm-1:30pm

To learn more or receive updated notifications contact Alanna Conley (conley.alanna@epa.gov), 503-326-6831.

Additonal forums

In addition, you are invited to attend the following forums which are also free and open to the public:

  • Monday, February 8, 7pm, Audubon Society, 5151 NW Cornell Rd, Portland
  • Tuesday, February 9, 7pm, League of Women Voters, Multnomah County Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Ecological Risk Assessment and Human Health Risk Assessment

The Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (BERA) was finalized December 2013. This report describes how animals, birds, fish, plants, and other creatures that live in the bottom of the river are exposed to contaminants at Portland Harbor, and estimates the amount of exposure to the contaminants. We will use the results of the ecological risk assessment, along with the feasibility study, remedial investigation, and human health risk assessment, to develop a proposed cleanup plan for Portland Harbor.

The general conclusions of the final Human Health Risk Assessment for the Portland Harbor Superfund Site are:

  • Eating resident fish such as catfish, bass, and carp from Portland Harbor is a health risk especially for recreational and subsistence fishers, and infants that are breast fed by mothers who eat resident fish;
  • PCBs are the primary contaminant associated with most of the risk from eating Portland Harbor fish; and
  • Health risks are great enough for cleanup to be needed under the Superfund law.
Proposed Confined Disposal Facility

More technical documents

Fact sheets

Enforcement information

Linnton Plywood Consent Decree

Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation Settlement

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