Reported by Aaron Mesh in Willamette Week: 

Environmental advocates and North Portlanders are livid at a decision by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to clean up a contaminated beach on the Willamette River by burying most of the hazardous waste onsite.

WW examined the controversy over Willamette Cove last year (“Buried Treasure,” Dec. 9, 2020). On March 31, DEQ issued its final cleanup plan—and mostly ignored pleas from advocates to haul the toxic waste away.

Instead, the state agency recommended that regional government Metro, which owns the 27-acre property, consolidate 23,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil in a pit, and cover the poisoned area with three feet of rocks and soil. 

But the state also left the option for Metro to spend another $1.9 million to remove the soil entirely—setting up a consequential decision for the oft-overlooked Metro Council.