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spacer HomeNorthwest Region > Portland Harbor

Portland Harbor Superfund Site

is a heavily industrialized stretch of the Willamette River north of downtown Portland, Oregon that was listed on the National Priorities List (“Superfund”) in December, 2000. The listing specifies EPA as the lead agency for the in-water portion of the remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS), while the State is the lead agency for the upland investigations with individual property owners. Both agencies are coordinating closely with 6 Tribal governments and the other natural resource trustees for the site.  The trustees are designated by law to act on behalf of the public or Tribes to protect and manage natural resources.

A joint DEQ/EPA study of river sediments completed in 1998 found contaminated sediments throughout the harbor area.  Contaminants detected include metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated pesticides and dioxin.  Contamination appears to be highest adjacent to on-shore sites already known to be contaminated.

In September 2001, EPA signed an Administrative Order on Consent for the completion of a RI/FS with a group of ten Portland Harbor property owners. This group, known as the Lower Willamette Group, includes businesses along the Willamette River, the Port of Portland, and the City of Portland. A Memorandum of Understanding signed by DEQ, EPA and the Trustees lays out roles and responsibilities of the agencies and partners in the CERCLA cleanup process.

The community also plays an important role in the cleanup of Portland Harbor, by providing input to EPA and DEQ about community concerns related to the cleanup. The Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month, from 6 to 8 pm at the State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon Street, in Portland.

Newsletter Spring 2005

Recent Announcements:

  • On June 16, 2004, the Department of Human Services released an announcement regarding high levels of PCBs found in fish caught in Portland Harbor in the Lower Willamette River. For more information, click on the links below.

  • DEQ is seeking public comments on a proposed State Consent Judgment related to the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.

    View the proposed Consent Judgment. PDF

    The document is also available for review at DEQ’s Northwest Region Office, located at 2020 SW 4th Ave., fourth floor, Portland, Oregon. DEQ is holding a public meeting to provide information and receive comments on the proposed Consent Judgment on July 18, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. at the City of Portland Water Pollution Control Lab, Smith Room, located at 6543 N. Burlington Avenue in Portland. DEQ is accepting written comments on the proposed Consent Judgment from July 1, 2006 through August 1, 2006. Comments may be submitted to Jim Anderson, Portland Harbor Project Manager, at or at DEQ, 2020 SW 4th Ave., Suite 400, Portland, Oregon, 97201. For more information, please contact Jim Anderson at 503-229-6825, or Mikell O’Mealy, Portland Harbor Project Outreach Coordinator, at or 503-229-6590.

Where is Portland Harbor? 

For detailed Portland Harbor Site information, click on the Map of Portland Harbor Sites (In map, click on site name to get site specific information.) (pdf)

Upland Cleanup Information

Other DEQ Accomplishments in Portland Harbor

  • McCormick & Baxter Superfund site - DEQ is the lead agency, Record of Decision in 1996.  Additional cleanup action: Installation of a subsurface barrier wall to contain contamination
  • Broad source control strategies

For More Contact Information

DEQ Online is the official web site for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.