Oregon Delegation Urges Prompt EPA Action on Portland Harbor site

WASHINGTON — All seven members of Oregon’s congressional delegation today urged federal environmental officials to support the prompt transition of the Portland Harbor Superfund site from the prolonged study phase to active cleanup. 

The letter from U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader and Suzanne Bonamici to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt notes that the Portland Harbor has been on EPA’s National Priorities List since 2000.

“Every year the Portland Harbor goes without cleanup action, our region loses opportunities in the form of tax revenue, jobs, and property value, impeding economic opportunities for this important 11-mile stretch of industrial waterfront land within the City of Portland,” the seven lawmakers wrote.

“In addition, the longer we delay cleanup, the longer the documented environmental and public health risks at this site go unaddressed,” they wrote. “Collectively, public and private entities have already invested hundreds-of-millions of dollars on this site. We believe it is now time to move towards actual cleanup efforts that are efficient and cost-effective, and that reduce environmental and public health risks.”

The Portland Harbor site is contaminated after decades of industrial use along the Willamette with hazardous substances, including polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins/furans, pesticides, and heavy metals.

A copy of the letter is here.