Skip to the main content of the page

 Newsroom Detail


Emergency responders advise public to avoid the McKenzie River from Hayden Bridge downstream to Armitage Park
Springfield, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and local partners have responded to an oil release that caused a significant oil sheen on the McKenzie River in Springfield on Tuesday March 13.

The release of hydraulic oil was from an International Paper storm water outfall from their paper plant on N. 42nd Street. The release was originally reported to Oregon Emergency Response at 5:50 p.m. on Tuesday. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received the initial report of sheen earlier Tuesday and notified International Paper. The company estimates 200 gallons were released.

DEQ is coordinating its response with Lane County Emergency Management, Lane County Sheriff's Office, Eugene Water & Electric Board, the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department and Region 2 Regional Hazardous Materials Team.

The source of the oil release is located approximately 800 feet downstream from EWEB's McKenzie River drinking water intake. The intake is located at Hayden Bridge and provides water to the city of Eugene and other communities.

EWEB's water supply has not been affected. EWEB is providing updates to the public through social media channels regarding the spill response, drinking water quality and river access.

Emergency responders advise the public to avoid using the Hayden Bridge or Bellinger boat ramps until further notice, and to avoid the McKenzie River from Hayden Bridge downstream to Armitage Park until the situation is resolved. People should also avoid contact with any oily water on the McKenzie River. If people were to come into contact with oily water agencies recommend washing affected areas with soapy water.

Emergency responders stopped the flow of oily water from the pipe and placed booms and materials across the river to help absorb and capture the oil. They are also assessing the McKenzie River shoreline today from Armitage Park, approximately seven river miles downstream, up to the release point to determine if there are any wildlife impacts and any oil that can be cleaned up. The booms will prevent all recreational boating traffic near Hayden Bridge and will remain blocked until the booms are removed.

Emergency responders are evaluating the river and riverbank areas to determine if they are contaminated and require cleanup. The agencies are working with the paper company on the use of their outfall to ensure that additional releases are prevented.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Other resources:
• Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Emergency Response and Cleanup:
• DEQ Facebook and Twitter: OregonDEQ
• Eugene Water & Electric Board: or Facebook @EWEButility

Eugene Water & Electric Board Background
EWEB has pre-positioned equipment trailers at strategic locations within the McKenzie Watershed to respond to spills or other emergencies that could threaten the drinking water supply for more than 200,000 residents in the greater Eugene area.

For more information, see McKenzie Geographic Response Plan, which outlines individual strategies that EWEB developed to respond to spills throughout the McKenzie Watershed.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Flynt, Public Affairs Officer, DEQ, 503-730-5924,


Environment & Energy