Photo Courtesy SOLVE Oregon

Recent NEDC Clean Water Act enforcement actions helped fund a series of river cleanups this summer across Portland. In July, SOLVE Oregon used funds from an NEDC settlement to organize an extensive cleanup of the Holgate Channel, an ecologically important section of the Willamette River connecting Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and the Ross Island archipelago. Volunteers collected trash from both the riverbanks and the surrounding parklands and wildlife refuge, including materials like PVC piping, waterlogged sleeping bags, and the bottom of a lawnmower. Additional NEDC settlement funds were used to organize a series of cleanup events at various locations on the Columbia Slough.

Together, these cleanups successfully removed over 20,000 pounds of trash and toxic materials from sensitive aquatic habitat, and kept untold amounts of pollution out of these Portland waterways. For each of these cleanups, SOLVE worked with locally owned Junk It to collect and properly dispose of the trash collected.

Clean Water Act enforcement has been a central focus for NEDC for decades. In recent years, a top priority for our litigation efforts has been protecting Pacific Northwest waters from stormwater pollution at industrial facilities. These stormwater “citizen suits” have resulted in significant upgrades in stormwater treatment systems across the state, reduced pollution in the region’s waters, and provided millions of dollars in funding for regional nonprofits to improve water quality.