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EPA: Lower Willamette cleanup plan due end of 2016, now is the time to get engaged, get informed and get ready

Release Date: 01/14/2016
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov

Agency launches informational “Full Court Press” to help Portland-Metro communities prepare to comment on the proposed Portland Harbor cleanup plan

Residents of the greater Portland area interested in learning more about the why, when and how, of the approaching Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup will have many opportunities to do just that beginning the first week of February, say EPA officials.

The Agency’s ambitious schedule of presentations, information sessions and webinars will offer Portlanders - and everyone interested in improving the health of the lower Willamette River - a sense of what intensive research has revealed about what lies on the bottom of this urban, working waterway. People will also learn about how Superfund cleanups are designed, marshalled and paid for.

This spring, EPA will release a Proposed Plan for the cleanup and seek formal public comments for two months. The Proposed Plan will offer a detailed picture of EPA’s preferred cleanup methods for recovering the Lower Willamette and making it a cleaner, healthier place to live, work and play. The Record-of-Decision, or final plan, will be released at the end of this year.

According to Dennis McLerran, EPA Regional Administrator, hearing from the community about how the cleanup should move ahead is a fundamental part of the EPA Superfund program.

“An informed and engaged community will help the Agency craft a smart, successful cleanup that protects people and the environment,” said EPA’s McLerran. “EPA cleanups must be driven by the best science available and by the Superfund law. Using those tools and community input, we will tailor a final River cleanup plan that protects people, the environment and Portland’s working waterfront. We cordially invite everyone to join us and take an active role in helping chart the future of this beautiful river.”

EPA is hosting the following Information sessions around the City of Portland:
Thursday, February 4
Open House: 11:30-12 noon
Information & Discussion Session: 12noon-1:30 pm
Portland City Building Auditorium
1120 SW 5th Ave, Portland
Portland Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium
Thursday, February 11
Open House: 6:30pm-7:30pm
Information & Discussion Session: 7:00pm- 8:30pm
Matt Dishman Community Center
77 NE Knott St, Portland
Thursday, February 18
Open House: 6:00-6:30 pm
Information & Discussion Session: 6:30-8pm
Woodrow Wilson High School Cafeteria
1151 SW Vermont St, Portland, OR
Saturday, March 19
Open House: 12:30-1pm
Information & Discussion Session: 1-2:30pm
Matt Dishman Community Center
77 NE Knott St, Portland
More sessions to be announced...

In addition to these larger-scale gatherings, EPA is also either hosting or participating in many smaller meetings with elected officials, industry leaders, non-governmental organizations, civic groups, neighborhood associations and river users. Go to EPA’s Portland Harbor website for a growing list of opportunities and events you can attend. For more information about these community information sessions, please contact Alanna Conley at 503-326-6831 or conley.alanna@epa.gov.

When the Proposed Plan is released in the spring, everyone -- residents, elected officials, tribes, business and industry leaders and state and local governments -- will then have an opportunity to review and provide formal comments on the plan. During the two-month public comment period, EPA will schedule another series of meetings to describe the cleanup plan and accept public comments. EPA will then consider all comments and prepare the final Record of Decision by the end of 2016.

For more information and documents about the Portland Harbor Cleanup, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/3Wf2B.