Oregon Wild: Protecting Portland's Drinking Water
Background on the source of Portland's drinking water and Oregon Wild's campaign to protect the Bull Run Watershed and Little Sandy Watershed.
UPDATE (12.15.11): Oregon health officials grant variance to Bull Run watershed avoiding expensive and unnecessary treatment plans.
Portland residents are blessed with some of the purest drinking water in the nation. This clean water has a long journey to make before it comes out of the tap. Rain, fog drip and snow fall in the forested Bull Run Watershed, collect in Bull Run Lake and various tributaries of the Bull Run River and then flow then into the Bull Run River (a tributary of the Sandy River). Since 1895, Bull Run has provided Portland families with safe, clean water to drink.
The Bull Run has been closed to human entry for over 100 years. The fact that Bull Run continues to provide Portland families with clean drinking water over a century later is no accident-- it is the result of decades of hard work by conservation groups like Oregon Wild and pro-environment elected officials.
In the 1990's, when run-off from reckless logging projects on federal land threatened to foul Bull Run water, Oregon Wild pushed the city of Portland to take a stand, stop these destructive projects, and work with Congress to permanently protect the watershed. In 1996, we won passage of the Oregon Resources Conservation Act in Congress, which prohibits logging in the Bull Run watershed.
And, in 2001, we won passage of the Little Sandy Protection Act, which expanded the size of the Bull Run Management Unit and prohibits logging in the Little Sandy River watershed upstream from Aschoff Creek.
Bull Run Timeline:
In 1892 President Harrison's proclamation establishes the Bull Run Reserve.
In 1904 Congress adopts the Trespass Act, which restricted logging, development, and other activities in the Bull Run watershed.
On the last day of the session in 1977, Congress passes the Bull Run Act, opening the Bull Run watershed and the nearby Little Sandy River watershed to logging. By 1993, more than 350 miles of roads--mostly to facilitate logging--were built in the watershed, causing sediment to flow into drinking water reservoirs. Some 37 percent of the Little Sandy watershed was clear-cut.
In 1996, U.S. Congress passes the Oregon Resources Conservation Act, protecting the main watershed within the Bull Run Management Unit from logging.
In 2001, Congress adopts the Little Sandy Protection Act, adding most of the Little Sandy Watershed to the Bull Run Management Unit and prohibiting logging.
Explore the links below to learn more about Oregon Wild's ongoing work to protect Portland's clean drinking water.Press Release on 2001 Congressional action to protect Portland's drinking water