RiverFest celebrates its third year

by timmel 8/30/2012 1:16 PM

If you want an excuse to get down to the water in mid-September, RiverFest may be the event for you. The annual festival is now in its fifth year and will take place from Sept. 21-23. It features an assortment of river-related activities in Portland, up and down the Willamette River.


For the athletically-inclined, Cathedral Park will serve as the backdrop for the Portland Triathlon, recognized as the Greenest Triathlon in the U.S. by Triathlete Magazine in 2010. The event will be held concurrently with the family-friendly River Fair, also taking place at Cathedral Park. For those that prefer a more leisurely place, Alder Creek Kayak and Portland Kayaking Company will be offering kayak tours closer to downtown. While you are there, be sure to check out SOLVE’s RiverFest Cleanup, OMSI’s OMNIMAX Theater showings and Industry & Art - all taking place in conjunction with RiverFest.


View the event schedule at www.portlandriverfest.org for more information about the events, times and costs.


Summer events feature Portland's waterways

by timmel 7/11/2012 1:36 PM

It’s finally summer! With the arrival of warmer and more pleasant weather, there’s no better excuse to spend some time in and around Portland’s waterways. Check out these two upcoming events, made possible by a few of the Port of Portland’s community partners. Both events will occur on Sunday, July 29.

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s eighteenth annual Columbia Slough Regatta will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The on-the-water festival is a leisurely group paddle along the slough’s gentle waters, suitable for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Bring your own boat or take advantage of CSWC’s complimentary 45-minute canoe or kayak rental. Boats will depart from the St. Johns Boat Launch and head either to the Ramsey Wetlands area or east along Smith and Bybee wetlands. Besides great paddling opportunities, the event will offer community information tables, paddling safety information, face painting and food for purchase. CSWC suggests a $7 donation to help support their education, restoration and recreation programs within the watershed.


Photo courtesy of Columbia Slough Watershed Council

On the other side of town, head down to the Willamette River for the second annual Big Float, an event celebrating the river, its preservation and recreational opportunities. A westward parade across the Hawthorne Bridge begins at 12:30 p.m., followed by an approximately one-hour float across the river, landing on the east bank at Hawthorne Cove. Participants will be greeted with food carts, exhibits, sponsor booths, live music and beer once they reach the east shore of the river. A $5 registration fee covers event costs and extra proceeds will be donated to Willamette Riverkeeper. All floaters must have a floatation device and wear a life jacket, both of which can be purchased when you register online or at the event. Registration begins on-site at 10 a.m. or you may register online ahead of time.

City Releases Willamette River Recreation Strategy

by wrayr 11/23/2011 4:33 PM

The City of Portland’s Office of Healthy Working Rivers and Portland Parks and Recreation recently released the draft “Willamette River Recreation Strategy.” This draft document outlines recreation policy guidance and identifies specific river recreation actions over the next five to 15 years in order to meet the city’s growing river recreation demand.


With 17 miles of the Willamette flowing through the City of Portland, and with so many Portlanders enjoying recreation on and along the Willamette, this report is worth a look. The City is taking feedback and comments on the draft document through Friday, December 9. You can share your thoughts by email, phone, letter, or by taking a quick online survey.

Early Cleanup of Seattle's Duwamish River Moving Ahead

by wrayr 10/3/2011 5:28 PM

With the Port’s participation in the Lower Willamette Group and the Portland Harbor Partnership, news about regional Superfund cleanups is always informative. This article on efforts to clean up a five-mile stretch of Seattle’s Duwamish River is a must-read. The Duwamish Superfund process is a few years ahead of where we are in Portland Harbor, but with similar challenges, including legacy contamination from World War II activities and many parties that are responsible for pollution but are no longer around or in business, leaving the cleanup to those groups still standing. Interesting to watch the progress up north as we move closer to the completion of a Portland Harbor draft feasibility study, which will provide the menu of options the Environmental Protection Agency will use to make cleanup decisions for the Willamette.

Report on Portland Harbor Recreational Use Released

by wrayr 9/21/2011 2:56 PM

The Oregon Health Authority recently released the final version of the Public Health Assessment addressing the recreational use of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, a segment of the Willamette River located between the Broadway Bridge and Sauvie Island. OHA’s updated report reflects input received during a lengthy public comment period that ended in July 2010. The entire report is available online, with an informative summary and project flyers also available. The independent health assessment concluded that the main threats to human health from the Portland Harbor Superfund site come from eating resident fish that live year-round in the Harbor, not from recreational use of the area.

Don’t Miss "Industry & Art" Exhibit at Vigor Industrial!

by wrayr 9/19/2011 2:53 PM

This month, the Port is helping sponsor an exciting event, the Industry&Art: The Rivers Run Through Us exhibit at Vigor Industrial Shipyard. This must-see art show and sale is a unique glimpse into the people and industries of Portland’s working waterfront. The exhibit features both established and emerging artists (many of whom work in Portland Harbor) and includes paintings, sculptures, photography and more.

Industry&Art runs from September 22nd to the 25th, with open gallery and viewing hours this Thursday and Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM. On Saturday and Sunday, the exhibit is open from 11 AM to 7 PM, and in addition to viewing the exhibit, attendees can take a jet boat tour of the harbor, board the fully restored steamer Portland (the last steam-powered, sternwheeler tugboat to be built in the United States), and get up close to a World War II PT boat.


Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5. Vigor Industrial Shipyard is located on Swan Island at 5555 N. Channel Avenue, Portland, OR 97217.

Willamette River Navigation Maintenance Project to Begin

by wrayr 9/19/2011 2:32 PM

A long-planned Army Corps of Engineers’ project to dredge a segment of the Willamette River gets under way soon. Later this month, the Corps will begin dredging sand and sediment that have accumulated in an area of the river called Post Office Bar. Located about two miles south of the Willamette’s confluence with the Columbia River, Post Office Bar is a tricky navigation point for river pilots, and the accumulated sediment on the river bottom is a navigation hazard.


Dredging is scheduled to last no more than 31 days and will take place while fish are least likely to be migrating through the river. Dredged sand and sediment will be placed at the Port’s West Hayden Island dredge material placement facility. This 105-acre site on the north side of the island was developed to manage dredge material long-term. It’s protected by berms, and material is placed there only after a careful and conservative review by environmental regulators.


Contractors working on behalf of the Corps will transport material from a barge anchored just off-shore of Hayden Island. Over the course of the month, they’ll pipe about 45,000 cubic yards of sand and sediment into the upland area. While the Port-owned property is not open to the public, anyone accessing the island should avoid the active work areas, especially areas inside the berms where material is being deposited. This area is marked by signs warning of the unstable nature of newly-placed wet sand and soil.


The beach on Hayden Island is open to everyone, and contractors are required to have a clearly-marked walkway over the pipe to maintain beach access. Have questions or comments? Email Rachel Wray or call 503.415-6047.



Shown above: the dredge material placement site on West Hayden Island is an open, sandy area on the north side of the island.

RiverFest is Coming!

by wrayr 8/15/2011 4:33 PM

The Port of Portland is a proud sponsor of RiverFest -- Portland’s annual celebration of the Willamette River. Be part of the celebration by attending one of the dozens of RiverFest events, including a concert in the park, kayak lessons, bridge tours, harbor tours, a SOLV riverbank clean-up, and more!

Click here for all the details, and don’t miss the RiverFest Fair this Sunday, August 21, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Watch the action at the Portland Triathlon while enjoying family-friendly activities all designed to bring you closer to one of the region’s true treasures, the Willamette River.

And sign up NOW for a special RiverFest sight-seeing cruise on the Portland Spirit -- see the Willamette close-up and in comfort on this special discounted adventure.


Readings from “Honoring Our Rivers” Anthology

by wrayr 5/13/2011 3:06 PM

Don’t miss out on a great event at Powell’s City of Books. Each year, students and teachers from across Oregon publish original poems, essays, and artwork about the Willamette River and other regional watersheds. Powell’s on Burnside will host these budding and established artists at a special reading on Sunday, May 22, at 4 p.m.