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About the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative

This nationally coordinated effort provides EPA and its partners with a process to return Superfund sites to productive use. Learn more at Superfund Redevelopment Initiative.

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Redevelopment at the Site

The Portland Harbor Superfund site is located in Portland, Oregon. The site study area includes a 10-mile stretch of the lower Willamette River known generally as Portland Harbor, and associated upland source properties. For over 150 years, Portland Harbor has served as an international port for commerce and the surrounding properties have supported manufacturing, shipbuilding, petroleum, metal salvaging and power-generation activities. These industrial uses resulted in contamination of river water and sediment, and upland soil and groundwater at riverfront properties. There are public beaches and parks within the Site and recreational uses of the river in the Site as well. In 2000, EPA placed the site on the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL).

Through a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Doing Work Agreement with EPA, the University of Portland purchased the 35-acre Triangle Park area of the site in 2008. The University of Portland with EPA oversight cleaned up the area. This preliminary work ensures that activities remain consistent with long-term cleanup goals for the site as a whole. The university anticipates that the transformed industrial property will provide housing and athletic fields. A trail will also provide public access to the Willamette River waterfront for members of the university community.

Other areas of the Site are currently ready for reuse. A habitat development and land management company is developing a restoration project at Alder Creek on Sauvie Island. The project goal is to create natural resource credits which will be made available for purchase to potentially responsible parties as a mechanism for environmental damage compensation. A 32-acre active sawmill complex on the site will be removed and the site will be restored using a mosaic of riparian, channel, tidal marsh, and mud flat habitats.

In December 2017, EPA released a list of Superfund sites that the Administrator has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The 21 sites on the list, including Portland Harbor, are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations. EPA's issued a Superfund Redevelopment Initiative of Superfund National Priorities List sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. Superfund redevelopment helps communities reclaim and reuse formerly contaminated land. Sites on the Superfund Redevelopment Focus List have significant redevelopment potential based on previous outside interest, access to transportation corridors, land values, and other critical development drivers.

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Economic Activity at the Site

As of December 2019, EPA had data on 63 on-site businesses. These businesses employed 5,210 people and generated an estimated $1,484,095,821 in annual sales revenue. View additional information about redevelopment economics at Superfund sites.

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