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Boating and other public uses of the area of the Willamette River are prohibited for several weeks.

COURTESY PHOTO: MICHAEL POUNCIL - A view of Willamette Cove from the upland portion of the site.Willamette Cove will be closed to the public for the next several weeks as state officials collect environmental samples to plan for future pollution cleanup efforts.

The closure of the cove's waters includes a 46-acre area along the eastern bank of the Willamette River in Portland between North John Avenue and the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge.

COURTESY MAP: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF STATE LANDS - An area of Willamette Cove is closed from June 15 to Sept. 5 as crews conduct environmental sampling to inform future pollution cleanup work.The closure began June 15 and will last until Sept. 5, officials with the Oregon Department of State Lands announced last week.

Boating, paddling and other uses of the waters around the cove are prohibited during the closure so that crews and machinery can collect water, sediment and soil samples.

Willamette Cove was used extensively for industrial activities, including milling lumber and ship repair, for more than a century. The samples will be used to help state and Portland agencies determine how to implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approved cleanup plan for the cove.

The cove is part of the Portland Harbor Superfund site, a 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River that contains about 370 acres of sediment severely contaminated with toxic pollutants from decades of industrial activities.

Efforts by both state and local agencies to evaluate environmental conditions and implement cleanup plans for the cove and its surrounding areas are ongoing.

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