Businesses in the Portland Harbor take pride in doing the right thing for Portland's community, and are serious about their environmental responsibilities.

Additionally, all harbor businesses operate under the oversight of many federal, state and local entities, including:

  • The City of Portland;
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality;
  • Oregon Division of State Lands;
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; and
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service.

Below are highlights of select environmental initiatives by some harbor businesses:

Barges built by Vigor, Gunderson and Zidell can move one ton of cargo 575 miles with one gallon of fuel. Rail cars, built by Gunderson, can move one ton of cargo 425 miles. By comparison, a heavy truck will move the same cargo only 155 miles.

A 2.4 million pound fish weir, fabricated on Swan Island by Oregon Iron Works and installed on a Snake River dam by Advanced American Construction, will assist in migrating fish passage. "We have found we are passing more fish with less water," Corp Project Manager Cary Rahn said, "and that survival rates are 98 percent when going over surface routes."

Ash Grove Cement utilizes landfill gas from the St. Johns landfill as a source of fuel for drying their raw materials. According to Glenn Dollar, Environmental Health and Safety Manger, "using landfill gas to do beneficial works saves energy and reduces emissions."

Tug boat operators, essential for ship assists and moving product by barge, have dramatically reduce fuel consumption. For example, Shaver recently spent $5.5 million to replace engines in four of its busiest tugs. "The trip from Portland to Lewiston used to take 15,000 gallons of fuel; now it uses 8,900 gallons.." Rob Rich, Shaver Transportation.

Many businesses in the harbor are investing in stormwater improvements on their sites. For example, Evarz Oregon Steel recently completed a $3 million state of the art end-of-pipe stormwater treatment facility. The project includes a settlement basin, sand filration system and grassy swales to treat stormwater. "The best way for us to help clean up the river is through source control, " says Debbie Deetz Silva, Environmental Manager.

Schnitzer Steel recently completed a Phase I of its new stormwater system and eliminated eight outfalls to the Willamette River. " This $1.6 million project allows us to store water on site for process use or dust control, and reduces discharges to the river."

Other investments are improving air and water quality near the river. For example, Vigor Industrial replaced open air dry abrasive blasting with wet abrasive blasting to reduce particulate matter emissions. "We collect and treat all process water on Swan Island. My family and employees care about the environment; this operational change was the right thing to do". Alan Sprott , Vice President, Vigor Industrial LLC.

Simplot built a perch at the end of its dock for nesting Ospreys. "It's very cool to see them thrive in this industrial location" says Bob Piatt, Manager.

The Port of Portland vegetated 2.7 miles of the shoreline through an aggressive planting program and at T-4 laid back the stream bank to create shallow water habitat for resting fish and more vegetation for migrating birds. "We removed acres from industrial use in order to better the environment," said Tom Van Wormer, Project Manager.





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