DEQ is working with the Port of Portland, Metro and others to clean up contamination at this property, a former industrial site in North Portland along the east bank of the Willamette River.  The property comprises approximately 27 acres and approximately 3,000 feet of Willamette River shoreline. Located south of the St. Johns Bridge, adjoining or nearby neighborhoods include Cathedral Park, St. Johns, and University Park.
Willamette Cove’s industrial uses date back to the early 1900s, including a lumber mill, plywood mill, barrel manufacturer, and dry-dock and ship repair facility. Industrial activities ended by the early 1980s and the site has been undeveloped since then. Metro purchased the property in 1996 and plans to preserve the land primarily as a natural area.
Historical industrial activities resulted in soil contamination. The contamination includes heavy metals, diesel fuel, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins, which pose a risk to human health and the environment. Some groundwater contamination is also present.  While cleanup actions were performed in  199x and 2016, contamination remains that poses a risk to people and wildlife. 
The Port has prepared a Feasibility Study and Source Control Evaluation (March 2019) presenting potential cleanup options for the upland site, for which DEQ has oversight.  Cleanup of contamination in the site riverbank, beaches, and the adjoining Willamette River will be overseen by EPA as part of Portland Harbor Superfund Site work. 

December 2019: Status of the Willamette Cove Cleanup

DEQ is preparing a staff report outlining a recommended cleanup plan for the upland property. Following a 60-day public comment period and consideration of all comments, a cleanup plan will be selected by DEQ.
Extensive public outreach activities will be completed prior to selection of an upland cleanup plan.  This will include public meetings with neighborhood associations and the Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group. Separately, representatives from the Portland Harbor Community Coalition will perform outreach to a wide range of community interests through a cooperative effort with Port of Portland, Metro, and DEQ. 

Resource documents



Erin McDonnell, P.E.
Northwest Region Cleanup Program

Rebecca Wells-Albers, Outreach Coordinator, Northwest Region Cleanup Program, 503-229-5585