Two Consent Decrees Lodged

View of Willamette River with a railroad bridge in the background

Overlooking the Willamette River towards the city of Portland

On November 2, 2023, the Justice Department lodged two proposed consent decrees in federal court among members of the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council (Trustee Council) and over 20 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site in Oregon.

The agreements, with an estimated restoration value of approximately $33.2 million, require the PRPs to pay cash damages and/or purchase credits in projects to restore salmon and other natural resources that were lost due to contamination released from PRP facilities into the Willamette River. This settlement includes more than $600,000 in damages for the public’s lost recreational use of the river, and restoration and monitoring of culturally significant plants and animals.

The four restoration projects selling restoration credits – Alder Creek, Harborton, Linnton Mill and Rinearson Natural Area –provide habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act and of tremendous cultural significance to the Five Tribes. The projects will also restore habitat for other fish and wildlife injured by contamination in Portland Harbor – like bald eagle, mink and lamprey – as well as Tribally significant native plants – like camas, wapato, and sweetgrass.

“The trustees are very pleased that the responsible parties in this settlement have advanced restoration over litigation- the large-scale restoration projects facilitated by this settlement will help address the most important habitat needs of fish and wildlife injured by contamination in Portland Harbor,” said Director Curt Melcher of Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The settlement is subject to a public comment period and final court approval. The public comment period ends January 28, 2024. The consent decrees are available for viewing as follows:

Read more about the consent decree process here on the Trustee Council’s webpage and find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) here.