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Aerial image of a rendering of what the Linnton Mill project site will look like after restoration.
Aerial rendering of what the Linnton Mill project site would look like after restoration. Image: RestorCap

Innovative Restoration Bank Projects Will Help Portland Harbor Recover from Pollution

March 15, 2021

NOAA, and the state, federal, and tribal trustees restoring habitat and resources impacted by the Portland Harbor hazardous waste site in Oregon have released a final Supplemental Restoration Plan (PDF, 161 pages). 

In the plan, the trustees chose to purchase restoration bank “credits” from third party restoration projects to help make up for pollution impacts in the area. These innovative approaches restore habitat and resources and help the area recover from decades of pollution. During this phase of restoration, the Portland Harbor Trustee Council will purchase restoration credits from existing restoration projects to help make up for those impacts:

  • Alder Creek Restoration Project - This project restored and enhanced 52 acres to improve habitat at a former lumber mill.

  • Harborton Habitat Development Project - This project restored tributary and off-channel habitat across 53 acres of the Portland General Electric Harborton Substation property.

  • Linnton Mill Restoration Site - This project restored 27 acres of an industrial site into a landscape with rehabilitated riparian and upland habitat, new off-channel habitat, and enhanced shallow-water and active channel margin habitats.

  • Miller Creek Restoration Project - This project will reconnect Miller Creek to Multnomah Channel to enhance 13 acres of habitat near the confluence of the Multnomah Channel and the Willamette River. 

  • Rinearson Natural Area -This project restored 33 acres of floodplain and channel habitat, including improving fish passage at a former dam.

The purchase of restoration credits from these projects will be funded through settlements from some of the companies responsible for releasing hazardous waste into the environment in Portland Harbor. These companies are participating in the Trustee Council’s cooperative damage assessment process and may also purchase credits directly from project developers. 

This plan, which includes an environmental assessment, is supplementing a final programmatic restoration plan released in 2017. A draft plan proposing the credit purchases was released in August 2020 for public review.

Since the early 1900s, many facilities have released oil, PCBs, heavy metals, pesticides, and other hazardous substances into Portland Harbor. This highly industrialized area of the Willamette River continues to serve as a hub for the commercial shipping industry. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the area a Superfund site in 2000.

More Information

Portland Harbor Trustee Council

The Trustee Council members include federal and state agencies, and tribal communities all working to restore the area from impacts from years of pollution:

  • NOAA

  • U.S. Department of the Interior

  • State of Oregon, acting through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)

  • Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon

  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

  • Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

  • Nez Perce Tribe