05-20-2018  8:42 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

ENTERTAINMENT

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

NYPD probing sex allegations against Mario Batali

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against celebrity chef Mario Batali.The NYPD confirmed the probe following a "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday night in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting...

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

US, China putting trade war on hold after progress in talks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China are pulling back from the brink of a trade war after the...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Kerry says civil discourse is under threat around the world

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned that...

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

A diverse coalition of community organizations have come out in opposition of the proposed Environmental Protection Agency plan to clean the Portland Harbor Mega Superfund site. The Portland Harbor Community Coalition is pushing for a more aggressive clean-up plan and more time for public comment.

The superfund site is a 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River from the Broadway Bridge to Kelly Point Park. Water and sediment in these areas has been contaminated with hazardous substances accumulated over a century of industrial use.

The EPA has listed 64 contaminants of concern at the Portland Harbor that pose a risk for human health. These contaminants include cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), toxic chemical byproducts dioxins and furans, the banned pesticide DDT, arsenic and mercury.

Justin Buri, an organizer with the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, said most Portlanders do not realize just how toxic the superfund site is.

“It is one of the most complicated, polluted superfund sites in the country,” Buri said. “In fact, they could even divide up 13 different parts of this project and each part would be its own superfund site, that’s how polluted and complicated this project is.”

All of the EPA plans make use of four techniques to clean up the Portland Harbor: removing the hazardous material by dredging, capping over the contaminated sediment and monitored and enhanced natural recovery where new sediment covers the contaminated areas.

EPA’s proposed plan, called Alternative I, relies mostly on monitored natural recovery for 1,876 of the nearly 2,200 acres of the site.The plans calls for 150 acres to be dredged, 17 acres to be dredged then capped and 64 acres to be capped with a confining layer of plastic or other material.

The table below shows some of the other cleanup alternatives from the EPA. (Photo from the EPA superfund proposed plan document.)

Portland Harbor Plans small

Alternative I would take seven years of in-river construction work and the monitored natural recovery, would occur over the next 23 years. The cost for cleaning up the mega superfund site would be $746 million. 

The cleanup costs would be split between over 150 potentially responsible parties; local organizations like NW Natural Gas, the City of Portland and the Port of Portland and multinational companies Exxon-Mobile and Shell Oil. A full list of can be found here.

EPA Superfund Program Manager Cami Grandinetti said Alternative I is the preferred plan after considering short and long term goals, efficacy, regulation requirements and cost.

“We think it strikes the right balance of all the different factors to consider, it’s a remedy that is we believe protective of human health and the environment,” Grandinetti said.

But Buri says the proposed plan is insufficient to deal with the toxic contaminants and relies too heavily on natural processes to clean the river.

“The scariest thing is that, what they refer to as Monitored Natural Recovery, the principle element of what’s in the plan, and that is nothing more that do-nothing and take samples and see what happens,” Buri said.

Grandinetti says that the most polluted sections of the superfund site will be dredged but the areas with low concentrations of contaminants would not.

“We have a lot of confidence that (Monitored Natural Recovery) can work -- the question is to what extent do we rely on that and that’s something that we want the public to weigh in on,” Grandinetti said.

The Portland Harbor Community Coalition has partnered with many community groups including the environmental justice organization Groundwork Portland, houseless rights advocates Right 2 Survive and Native American community groups American Indian Movement, NAYA and Wisdom of the Elders.

These communities have special relationships with the Willamette River say advocates; from the houseless communities that live by the river to the Native American communities who fish in the river.

Rahsaan Muhamed of Groundwork Portland said the Black community in Portland has been greatly affected by pollution and development. He said the history that can be traced back to Vanport, where pollution and people were dispersed by the 1948 flood.

“The displacement, going all the way back to Vanport, of Black and Brown and original people,” Muhamed said. “That move that caused us to migrate down from Vanport into the North and Northeast Portland areas, we were victims of the pollution from the beginning.”

Both Muhamed and Buri see the cleanup as an opportunity for equity and community building. Muhamed wants to see a pre-apprenticeship program to come from the millions of dollars of cleanup money -- a program that would develop a workforce for the construction work and stewardship for the future life of the river.

“We can set up the training to train Black and Brown and original peoples to not only clean up the river but to establish institutions of education based on water usage, and water purification,” he said.

Grandinetti said that people who are interested in jobs related to the cleanup should look at the EPA Superfund Job Training Initiative to become good candidates trained to deal with toxic and hazardous materials.

Both the EPA and the coalition ask for people to weigh in and make public comments on the plans. Grandinetti asks that people visit the EPA’s Portland Harbor project page to look at the proposals. Public comments can be made at www.cleanupportlandharbor.org or through the EPA’s public comment page. The 90-day period for public comments will end on September 6.

Buri says that the time to act is now because superfund sites are evaluated 30 years after the work was first done.

“Once the plan is adopted, you pretty much have to wait another 30 years in order to see if we’ve done enough, Buri said. “That’s too long of a time for communities that have been suffering the impacts of what the pollution has brought over the last 100 years.”

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