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Rivers of Life Center is joining forces with the community in Oregon City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13

The Rivers of Life Center is joining forces with the community to clear an important channel to Oregon City's Clackamette Cove from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Justin Jorgensen, Joshua Beckham and Aiden NcNiece hoisted rocks over their heads when they participated in a previous clean-out of the channel leading to Clackamette Cove.The event, titled "Here Comes the Tide," is designed to put volunteers to work tossing natural cobbles and gravel out of an existing channel that leads from the Clackamas River to fish-rearing and public-access areas at Clackamette Cove.

The cove, a former gravel quarry, is rich with waterfowl. In addition, its seven species of fish and adjoining uplands constitute community assets. The site is being partially developed for high-density housing through private firms working in partnership with Oregon City and various natural resource agencies.

Harmful algae

Clearing the channel is crucial because the cove is clogged with algal blooms that can be detrimental to people and wildlife, said Jerry Herrmann, president of the Rivers of Life Center.

"These naturally occurring algae are greatly advanced in growth and distribution throughout Clackamette Cove where there is no circulation as there was in the past," he said.

Herrmann plans to enlist Oregon City's community and friends in a one-day event to pick stones out of a pre-existing channel at low tide. He anticipates the high tide will then be able to flow into the cove with new vigor and cleanse those waters.

The algae are harmful because they contain a "phytotoxin that builds within the algal bloom that is toxic to pets and can cause huge irritation to swimmers," Herrmann said.

He noted that this is the same algal bloom situation that manifested itself at Detroit Lake and caused the city of Salem to almost abandon its water supply this summer.

Community effort

Herrmann said he and his organization are seeking community volunteers for this event because Clackamette Cove provides an excellent recreational opportunity in the Oregon City area.

"Keeping [the cove] healthy should involve the community, who will care more and more for this unique body of water," he said.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has rated the 50-acre cove as one of the most valuable assets for off-channel fish rearing and lamprey production in Oregon.

"Our dream is that a real salmon festival will be held here annually, where people can witness the salmon run come up the Clackamas, witness fish spawning near the mouth of Clackamette Cove, and celebrate in clear waters, a major natural resource within an urban setting," Herrmann said.

Herrmann noted that the project would benefit from the involvement of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and any family teams who want to be part of the clearing of the cove.

He asks that volunteers preregister with the Rivers of Life Center by calling 503-260-3432 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On the day of the event, signs will be placed in Clackamette Park for people to walk under Highway 99E right to Clackamette Cove. Participants should park at the Clackamette Park Boat Ramp, walk underneath the 99E bridge and follow the signs to the river cleanup.

Oregon City Optimists, another event sponser, will provide pizza and dessert for participants.

Herrmann added: "People will make the difference here, not agencies, contractors or consultants. People will serve and enhance Clackamette Cove and the Clackamas River."

Rock out

What: Rivers of Life Center's rock-clearing event "Here Comes the Tide"

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13

Where: Clackamette Park, 1955 Clackamette Drive, Oregon City

Contacts: Preregister by calling 503-260-3432 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More: For directions to Clackamette Park, visit orcity.org/parksandrecreation/clackamette-park

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