May Riverscape 

From The Riverkeeper

Hello Spring! Lovely Willamette view downstream of Junction City.

DEQ Budget Critical to the Willamette

In 1938 the Oregon Sanitary Authority was created to help manage pollution, and then revamped and renamed in 1969 to the present Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  The very mission of this agency is to help protect people and wildlife by regulating pollution.  Yet it is this very agency that struggles too often for funding of key programs. 

A foamy substance flushes into the mainstem river in Corvallis from a culvert, yet another reason to increase the frequency of toxics monitoring
As we move along in this legislative session in the State of Oregon, it has become very clear that key programs that help to protect clean water are under threat.  While this spans multiple Departments, DEQ may be the most critical and endangered.  WR made efforts last summer and built some consensus about the need to expand the capacity of the DEQ lab in Hillsboro to conduct toxics testing in Oregon Rivers.  Instead of expanding the capacity of this lab, the lab is fighting to hold onto what it has. 

At present, the Willamette receives full analysis for toxic pollution by the DEQ only every 7 years.  The lack of frequency is troubling, and the gap between analyses would only increase if DEQ is forced to reduce staff.  The ability to analyze whether toxic chemicals are showing up in our fish and other wildlife will be reduced.  If anything the lab needs to double its capacity, and have more ability to respond to new issues.  A case in point showed up over 7 years ago when PCBs were found in resident fish in Eugene.  A second sample was taken that showed the same. Unfortunately DEQ has had limited ability to track down the source of the PCBs.  In this day and age it seems to me we can, and should, do better.

WR is working in Salem to help protect DEQ's capacity, from reducing its permit backlog, to toxics sampling and screening.  You can help protect the DEQ budget by writing the members of the Oregon Legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee, responsible for the fate of the DEQ budget.  Click on the link for each legislator and their email appears on the opening page.  Comments to these members need not be lengthy; consider including the points below. 
  • Please protect the ability of the Oregon DEQ to do its work! 
  • The Oregon DEQ must expand its capacity to conduct toxics monitoring and investigation in Oregon's rivers. 
  • The DEQ must also gain the capacity to deal with the current permit backlog. 
  • The health of people and wildlife are at risk if the DEQ budget is continually eroded. 
As the legislative process moves forward, we will keep you updated with additional opportunities to make your voice heard. Also, check WR's Facebook page for a sample letter to this Committee. 

Thanks for your commitment to the Willamette River's health. 

For the River, 


Travis Williams
Riverkeeper & Executive Director

Clean Water For Great Brews: 5/20

What: Join our River Guardians and local brewers to help clean up our urban waterfront in Eugene and Springfield! 

When: Saturday, May 20th (see registration for meet up times at specific sites)

No Kidding: Each volunteer will earn a drink punch card which is good for up to 9 FREE BREWS at the neighborhood businesses pictured above.  This awesome reward does not have an expiration date, and is valid until all your holes have been punched.  

Questions? Email or call 541-913-4318

REGISTER HERE  at one of our  land or river based cleanup sites listed on the registration page.  Be sure to register as a "volunteer" only ("lead volunteers" must be cleared before signing up). 

Force of Nature- Ross Island Evening Tour: 6/14

This is one for the ladies!
In partnership with REI's Force of Nature movement, women are invited to join us, along with Portland Parks, for an evening canoe adventure to explore Portland's urban island wilderness- Ross Island, of course!
On this exclusive tour you'll be guided through the island's verdant interior (which is closed to the general public), learning about Ross Island's history, and the work we are doing to improve its habitat.
When: Wednesday, June 14th, 5:00pm - 8:30pm
Cost:  $20 registration includes a seat in a canoe, paddle, and PFD. 
Where: Meet in the gravel lot at above the river access ramp, next to the Portland Boathouse parking lot (1515 SE Water Ave, Portland, 97214)
Bring: Dress appropriately for the weather (such as a rain coat, rain pants and extra layers). Tall rubber boots and long pants work well for walking around the island. Bring water, snacks, and a picnic dinner. 
Questions? Email or call 503-223-6418. 
This is what a FORCE OF NATURE looks like!

Willamette Greenway Celebration Paddle: 6/17

Pick up a paddle and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Willamette River Greenway Program with Willamette Riverkeeper and our friends at Oregon State Parks!   Enjoy a scenic paddle trip from downtown Salem to the Wheatland Ferry where we'll observe wildlife, while learning more about the river, its history, and our combined efforts to improve habitat.

When: Saturday, 6/17 from 9:30am - 3:30pm

Where: Wallace Marine Park in Salem to Wheatland Ferry (11.5 river miles)

We will run a FREE shuttle service for this trip!  Meet us at Wallace Marine Park at 9:30am.  We'll aim to launch from the gravel bar by 10:00am.  At the take out, we'll drive you and your boats back to Wallace Marine Park. 

Riverkeeper canoes are available to reserve upon request at no charge (you must recruit your own paddling partner), or feel free to join us in your own canoe or kayak.

Plan to be on the river for about 4.5 hours. Be sure to dress for conditions and pack extra layers, sun glasses, hat, sunscreen, water, snacks and a lunch.

Questions? E-mail or call 503-223-6418

Green Business is Great Business

Every October, Willamette Riverkeeper leads a group of 1000 volunteers out to dozens of sites along the river from Eugene to Scappoose to do one thing, and one thing only: TAKE OUT THE TRASH!

In a few months, we'll be releasing detailed volunteer information so you can sign up to do good by getting dirty for a clean river on October 7th (save the date!).  Right now, though, we need sponsors who can help us make the event bigger and better than ever.  If you own, work for, or frequent a river-loving business, and you want the whole valley to know it, this is your chance! 

You'll be in great company--recent partners include some of Oregon's best businesses, like Toyota, BaseCamp Brewing, Ninkasi, NW Natural, REI, Mountain Rose Herbs, Sanipac, Next Adventure and dozens more.  And, of course, we'll pile on the praise by promoting your participation on our posters, website, social media, newsletters, and at both of our after-parties (Yep, there's 2--and we need sponsors for those, as well!).

The Great Willamette Clean Up is the ONLY river-wide cleanup for the river we know and love.  So if you're ready for your business to be great, and to make a great big difference for your river and your community, sponsor the Great Willamette Clean Up today!

Paddle Oregon 2017- silent auction

Paddle Oregon 2017: August 20th - 24th
For the first time in our event's 17 year history, Paddle Oregon 2017 "Total Eclipse of the Awesome" has sold out!  
We closed registration in early April, and already have a growing waiting list (email to be added to it).

But there is some hope folks!  We withheld just a few tickets, and we will host a silent auction online for them next month.  We will be sure to inform you when the action is live! 

Willamette Riverkeeper | 503-223-6418 | Email 


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