Corps Announces Delay in Dredging Projectby Rob Manning
Oregon Public Broadcasting, October 7, 2010
The Army Corps of Engineers will not begin a controversial dredging project near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers this week, as officials had hoped.
In fact, the agency isn't likely to do the work until next July.
That's when seasonal fish regulations again allow work in the water.
Michelle Helms with the Army Corps' Portland office says the agency was squeezed between getting environmental reviews done, and the fish rules taking effect at the end of the month.
Michelle Helms: "We were able to get all of our environmental concurrences from the other agencies. It took a little longer than what we expected, though. Since we're so far into the work season, it made more sense to go ahead and plan to do this next season, rather than splitting the work between the two seasons."
The Army Corps says river navigators have pressed for the dredging, because they're afraid barges will run aground on the bar - or get into accidents when they try to avoid it.
Environmental groups have opposed the Corps' plan to dump the dredge spoils on West Hayden Island. They consider it a natural area.
The city of Portland is looking at whether that area should become a marine terminal, as the Port of Portland wants.
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