Bradford Island Cleanup

People rely on clean water and toxic-free fish. That’s why Columbia Riverkeeper uses the law and grassroots organizing to advocate for cleanup at polluted sites.

The problem

People want to feed their families locally-caught fish from one of the most popular recreational fishing areas in the Mid-Columbia—but the Oregon and Washington health departments warn the fish are too toxic to eat. For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia’s shorelines at Bradford Island, located near Bonneville Dam in Multnomah County. The area is a historical tribal fishing area. Fish caught near the island contain the highest levels of cancer-causing PCBs in the Northwest. Today, tribal people and diverse communities use the area for subsistence and recreational fishing despite advisories warning not to eat resident fish.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have a voluntary cleanup agreement to evaluate and cleanup various sources of contaminants on the island. Yet the Corps has not engaged in new cleanup since 2007 when the federal agency removed polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-laden sediments from the river. Subsequent reports and sampling concluded that PCB concentrations in fish remain extremely high in the area. The area is also contaminated with lead, mercury, and petroleum chemicals.

How we engage

The Corps and DEQ plan to decide on critical cleanup actions over the next two years. People that rely on clean water and locally-caught fish deserve a say. Riverkeeper pairs in-depth legal and technical research with grassroots organizing to empower people to engage in cleanup decisions. We are also working in solidarity with Yakama Nation, which fought for years for a seat at the table to make critical decisions about a cleanup that affects treaty fishing rights. The goal: final cleanup decisions that protect people’s health and local fish.

Latest Updates:

Oregon, Washington, & Yakama Nation Ask EPA for New Superfund Listing on Columbia River

Legal & Program Director Lauren Goldberg talks Bradford Island Cleanup:


Associate Attorney Simone Anter talks Bradford Island Cleanup:

Blog posts, press releases, and information: