City Awards Nearly $500,000 To Support Community-led Projects and Programs About the Portland Harbor Superfund

News Article

Shaped by and for communities disproportionately affected by the Portland Harbor Superfund contamination and cleanup, the City’s Portland Harbor Community Grants support community-led projects and programs about the Portland Harbor Superfund and meaningful public involvement in the cleanup process. This year marks the third round of grant funding available through the Portland Harbor Community Grants program.

A diverse review panel of community and government representatives evaluated this year’s grant applications using a set of criteria and a consensus-based decision-making process to determine grant recipients and award amounts. Grant reviewers were selected based on their knowledge and experience related to affected communities, environmental justice, the Portland Harbor Superfund, community involvement, equitable grantmaking, and environmental remediation.

The grant review committee awarded $481,837 to nine community organizations whose projects and programs are led by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities or involve deep partnerships with and benefit BIPOC communities. This year’s grant recipients are:

Blueprint Foundation ($74,600)
Blueprint Foundation redresses the opportunity gap for Black youth within the Portland metro area by engaging youth in culturally-specific experiences that introduce and prepare them for family-sustaining careers in the green sector. With these funds, Blueprint will help prepare the next generation of BIPOC environmental scientists and professionals. Blueprint will also increase awareness about the Portland Harbor Superfund, deepen trust in the scientific processes, and expand its Portland Harbor education, stewardship, and STEAM education efforts. BIPOC youth and undergraduate peer mentors will engage in field activities, including conducting air and water quality monitoring in and around the Portland Harbor Superfund site.

Ecotrust ($75,000)
Ecotrust manages the Green Workforce Academy in partnership with Blueprint Foundation, Native American Youth and Family Center, Self Enhancement, Inc., and Wisdom of the Elders. The Green Workforce Academy is a dynamic, BIPOC-led partnership aimed to build economic justice through green jobs training for Portland’s adults of color. Funding will support the expansion of the Green Workforce Academy curriculum to include more information on the Portland Harbor Superfund and new content on environmental remediation career pathways. The program will also foster connections between students and environmental remediation professionals to support networking and relationship-building for career development.

ELSO ($74,600)
ELSO provides culturally relevant STEAM programs that empower children and youth of color to Experience Life Science Outdoors through place-based education that centers and elevates the stories, ways of knowing, individual needs, and lived experiences of Black and Brown communities. With these funds, ELSO will train high school-aged summer camp guides about the Portland Harbor Superfund site, cleanup, river ecology, and environmental justice to conduct age-appropriate interactive educational activities for K-8 students.

Living Islands ($50,000)
Living Islands is a BIPOC woman-led, volunteer-driven organization that advocates for Pacific Islander communities through cross-cultural education and awareness. Grant funds will support the group’s expansion of its "GoFish PI" program to include information about the Lower Willamette Fish Advisory. Living Islands will engage Pacific Islander communities through social media, holding culturally specific fish education events, and collaborating with other community organizations and government agencies working on the Portland Harbor Superfund.

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership ($32,537)
Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership works to restore and care for the water and ecosystems of the Lower Columbia River for current and future generations of fish, wildlife, and people. With these funds, the partnership will recruit and support BIPOC interns as Paddle Leaders for on-river educational canoe trips for Portland Harbor Community Grants grantees and their networks. Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership will collaborate with each grantee to shape canoe trips that expand participants’ understanding of the Lower Willamette River and the Portland Harbor Superfund site through direct on-the-water experiences.

Nesika Wilamut ($50,000)
Nesika Wilamut is an Indigenous-led organization that creates connections, builds community, and shares resources to build capacity for an equitable, diverse, and inclusive river health movement. Funds will support Nesika Wilamut’s engagement with BIPOC community members, build capacity, and decolonize approaches to river stewardship through Network Learning events. During the events, they will center traditional knowledge and the cultural lifeways of Indigenous communities by educating participants about the Portland Harbor Superfund, Lower Willamette River health, history and connection to the river, tribal community engagement, and respect for Indigenous knowledge.

Pacific Northwest Council of Water Protectors ($25,600)
Pacific Northwest Council of Water Protectors is a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters who carry forward the fire that began at Standing Rock to protect our sacred water and maintain the sovereignty of tribal nations. Grant funds will support events that center cultural, educational, and Indigenous traditions, including the Medicine Gathering, Portland Harbor riverbank cleanup, and Water Blessing for Indigenous communities. These events will provide educational opportunities about the Portland Harbor Superfund site, environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, and healing through ceremonies tied to the water.

Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group ($62,000)
The Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group fosters ongoing communication with government agencies about community concerns, questions, and priorities pertaining to the Portland Harbor Superfund site. These funds will support the development of The River Education Center and associated programming at Green Anchors, located on the riverfront of the Portland Harbor. Through The River Education Center, the Community Advisory Group will provide Superfund-related educational programming, workshops, and community meetings. Funds will also support the development and implementation of the River School to teach North Portland youth and adults about the Portland Harbor Superfund history, contamination, cleanup, and how to get involved.

Portland Harbor Community Coalition ($37,500)
Portland Harbor Community Coalition works to elevate the voices of communities most impacted by contamination in the Portland Harbor Superfund site and ensure these communities lead cleanup, restoration, and redevelopment in ways that directly address their needs. With these funds, Portland Harbor Community Coalition will collaborate with tribal representatives and Indigenous Mayan community members to organize a culturally inclusive water ceremony along Portland Harbor. They will also work with organizational partners and youth to co-create an interactive educational workshop and field trip to increase awareness and interest in Portland Harbor, the river, Lower Willamette Fish Advisory, and safe fishing practices.

More about Portland Harbor Community Grants
In recognition of the inequitable impacts of the contamination and cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, Portland Harbor Community Grants prioritizes funding community projects and programs that are led by and benefit Portlanders with current, cultural, and historical connections to the stretch of the Lower Willamette River that makes up the Portland Harbor Superfund. These communities include BIPOC Portlanders, people who eat resident fish and shellfish, and housed and unhoused neighbors living near the Portland Harbor Superfund site. Funds awarded by the grant support community-led efforts to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the Portland Harbor Superfund, the Lower Willamette River Fish Advisory, and scientific, technical, policy, and process topics related to the cleanup
  • Strengthen participation and leadership of affected communities in the cleanup process
  • Engage BIPOC communities in environmental remediation career development
  • Support collaborative partnerships among community groups and governments