Portland, August 3rd 2014. Over 450 people explored the upper section of the Columbia Slough, a hidden gem of waterways and natural area in N, NE Portland, Fairview and Gresham at the annual regatta. The family friendly event was sponsored by Columbia Slough Watershed Council which is working to restore and enhance the 60 miles of waterways. The event featured free kayak and canoe trips as well as face painting, crafts and community information booths. Organizers collected $2,500 in participant donations to help the Council’s restoration, recreation and education programs. (photo credit, Ambient Studies NorthWest)
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales attended the event and spoke of Portland’s long commitment to parks and natural spaces. Hales congratulated the community on the restoration work in this watershed and across the city. The Slough was highlighted as an important resource for people and ecological functioning. Also in attendance was Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack. Penny Beckwith, the Outreach Director of the Columbia Slough Watershed Council organized the event.
Throughout the years the Council has worked to create partnerships with local government, businesses and environmental interests to help recognize and promote the Slough as a regional amenity and recreational destination. The Slough is a unique waterway because it is situated in one of the most industrialized watersheds in Oregon. Various water quality issues in the Slough made is historically unsafe for activities like canoeing and fishing, but since the first Regatta celebration, various regulations, stormwater management projects, and changed community standards have helped to limit inputs of harmful pollutants. Sheltered from the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and off limits to motorized boat traffic, the Slough now offers scenic and safe paddling opportunities for all ages.
Today the Columbia Slough is cleaner than ever. With its long reach of water trails, views of the mountains and diverse wildlife, it is a real asset to the community. Organizers of the first Regatta were surprised when the event attracted the attention of local news outlets and 70 paddling participants. Since then, the event has grown to welcome hundreds of participants each year! Columbia Slough Regatta brings nature and paddling within reach of the community. After 20 years it is amazing to see how much the public embrace this event and the Columbia Slough.
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council, a non‐profit‐tax exempt organization, is a diverse group of stakeholders working to restore and enhance the 60 miles of waterways known as the Columbia Slough, located in Portland, Gresham, and Fairview. We work in the areas of restoration, recreation and education to connect the community to the watershed. Our mission is to foster action to protect, enhance, restore, and revitalize the Slough and its watershed.
Event Sponsors (Cash and In-Kind):
Bill and Julie Young Fund – Oregon Community Foundation
City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
Evraz NA – Portland
Leatherman Tool Group
Multnomah County Drainage District
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
Oregon Screen Impressions
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Pacific Office Automation
The Boeing Company
The Port of Portland
The Portland Water Bureau