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Council News

SRBWC Hiring AmeriCorps Community Involvement Specialist

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is excited to host a new AmeriCorps position, the Community Involvement Specialist. This member will engage populations in the lower Sandy River watershed to develop creative outreach strategies and inform local populations about ongoing river restoration activities. Specific target areas for this position will include Beaver Creek, the Sandy River Delta, and the communities of Gresham and Troutdale.

The Community Involvement Specialist will be supervised by SRBWC’s Community Stewardship Coordinator, Corinne Handelman, and Roy Iwai with Multnomah County’s Water Quality Program. This full-time position will be split, with 80% of the time focused in the Sandy Basin, and 20% of the time spent on professional development and trainings through the host partner, Confluence Environmental Center.

See the position description, and apply today! Interviews will be held by mid-July.

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Power Plant Still Looms on Sandy’s Horizon

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is taking public comment on a water quality permit for the proposed Troutdale Energy Center, a 653-megawatt gas fired power plant that would be built near the west bank of the Sandy River. DEQ will hear testimony Thursday May 14 at 6:30 pm at Glen Otto Park, and in writing through May 22. Agency personnel will also join the Council’s regular meeting Monday May 18 to discuss the permit.

Proposed site of the Troutdale Energy Center (Courtesy Friends of Columbia Gorge)

Proposed site of the Troutdale Energy Center (Courtesy Friends of Columbia Gorge)

The water quality permit is the final state permit required to construct the power plant, a proposal by Development Partners LLC of White Plains, NY that would add approximately 50% to the Portland Metro area’s natural gas consumption and emissions. DEQ approved an air quality permit for the power plant, which Friends of the Columbia Gorge challenged in court. Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Oregon Pilots association also challenged a permit by Oregon’s Energy Facilities Siting Commission, which is still to be decided. EFSC proposed that the energy permit be approved, but the contested case hearing, the final appeal in the state’s energy permit process, is still pending.

The DEQ’s draft water quality analysis suggests that the power plant’s effluent from using up to 5.4 million gallons per day of cooling water would meet all Oregon water quality standards. It also dismisses impacts from the effluent on human health and aquatic habitat for Endangered Species Act threatened salmon, steelhead and smelt.

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council has advised state agencies to reject the power plant because of impacts to air quality and habitat, particularly to the Sandy Delta which lies directly across the river from the proposed site on the Port of Portland’s Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park. Friends of the Columbia Gorge have also objected to the air quality impacts the power plant would cause in the Gorge, whose western boundary is the mouth of the Sandy, and the Oregon Pilots Association conducted a study indicating that the turbulent heat plume from the power plant’s exhaust stack could cause 10 or more pilot deaths per year.

Development Partners LLC had proposed the Troutdale Energy Center to Portland General Electric as a replacement for the coal-fired Boardman power plant that is scheduled to shut down, but PGE did not select the Sandy River location. Power plant proponents, who sold an interest in the project as part of an investment portfolio marketed by Boston based Energy Investors Funds, are continuing to develop the power plant despite PGE’s rejection.

Send your comments on the Troutdale Energy Center to:

Rob Burkhart, Permit Writer
2020 SW 4th Ave., Suite 400
Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-229-6957
Email: nwr.wqpermit@deq.state.or.us

Comments are due by 5 pm May 22, 2015.

To read more about the Troutdale Energy Center’s permits and the power plant’s impacts, please see:

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Lack of Snow Impacts Sandy Flow

Snow measurement sites show a statewide lack of snowpack, with the highest levels still only 36% of average

Low snowpack this winter has made headlines across the state of Oregon, and the Sandy Basin is no exception. As of mid-March, the Mt. Hood snow gauges show that we are at 6% of average annual snowpack based on data … Continue reading

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Welcome to Our Fiscal Administrator

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council is pleased to welcome our newest staff addition, Katherine Cory as our Fiscal Administrator. Katherine is excited to join the Council and bridge the gap between our finances and restoration work. Katherine is a Sandy River … Continue reading

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Year in Review 2014

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If the Sandy River shows us anything, it is the power of migrations. Whether it’s the basin’s wild fish struggling upstream through a cycle that’s renewed itself for millenia, the forceful meanderings of the river’s channel in flood stage, the … Continue reading

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Reflecting on the Sandy River’s Record 1964 Flood

Joie Smith supervises the rescue of local residents stranded by roads and bridges that washed out access to upper Sandy River neighborhoods

The “Christmas Flood” of 1964 stands in the history books as the flood of record for the Sandy River. Many rivers throughout Oregon reached similar record-breaking levels, though the Sandy River corridor was one of the hardest-hit regions throughout the state. … Continue reading

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What We Did on our Summer Restoration

The new Sandy Watershed Learning Center office

This summer brought new homes for the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and the wild salmon populations we strive to protect! Sandy Watershed Learning Center SRBWC established the Sandy Watershed Learning Center at Mt. Hood Community College’s campus in Gresham … Continue reading

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Restoration Season is Open

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We’ve been hard at work wrapping up spring restoration projects and preparing for the summer season kick-off.  Here are some highlights from our spring projects and where to find us working this summer: Spring Review: This spring we hosted two … Continue reading

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Portland Residents Vote to Maintain Watershed Protection

The Bull Run River, before meeting the Sandy River

The Sandy River Basin Watershed Council joined a broad coalition of groups interested in the environment, social justice, and sustainable economies to urge Portland residents to vote “no” on the May 20th primary ballot for measure 26-156. The ballot measure was defeated … Continue reading

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Judge: Sandy Hatchery Violates Endangered Species Act

Salmon R weir 9-12

A Federal judge has ruled that the Sandy Hatchery violates the Endangered Species Act because of its impacts on wild salmon.  The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Native Fish Society (NFS) and McKenzie Fly Fishers contending that the … Continue reading

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