Columbia Slough is a 60-mile long remnant of lakes,
wetlands and slow-moving channels in the southern
floodplain of the Columbia River. This area was once
home to Native Americans. The Lewis and Clark Expedition
noted plentiful wildlife particularly geese, brandts,
ducks, and otter in the Slough.
the early 1920's levees were constructed to prevent
seasonal flooding and the waterway was transformed
into the channeled and highly managed system now
known as the Columbia Slough. With the elimination
of yearly floods farming, industrial and residential
Today the 40,000 acres of
watershed contains 24,000 homes, 4,500 businesses,
and is home to 1/10 of all the jobs in Oregon.
Each year more than 13.7 million people and over
275,000 tons of freight come through the watershed.
from 150 years of development have left a legacy
of environmental problems in the Slough: contaminated
fish and sediment, diminished wildlife habitat,
and water pollution from both point and non-point
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council was formed
address these issues.
As habitats are modified throughout the Portland
metropolitan region and the entire Northwest, the
as a component of our regional system of greenspaces
grows. The Slough is one of the largest urban waterways
contained wholly within the metropolitan urban
growth boundary. This vast ribbon of habitat and
can be explored by foot, bicycle or canoe and kayak.
Flanked on the west by the 2,000 acre Smith and Bybee
lakes, and on the east by the 102 acre Fairview Lake
and the headwaters of Fairview Creek near Grant Butte
in Gresham, the 60 mile Slough and its watershed represent
an irreplaceable resource, both for the region and
for north and northeast Portland, Gresham, Fairview,
Troutdale, and Wood Village.
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Portland's Watersheds: About the Columbia Slough
Environmental Services is Portland, Oregon's Clean
River agency. The agency treats Portland's wastewater,
provides stormwater drainage services, and works
watersheds to reduce stormwater pollution, restore
native vegetation, and improves the quality of water
in our rivers and streams.
The City of Portland Water Bureau
Shore Well Field Wellhead Protection Program
The City of Portland Water
Bureau operates a well field capable of producing
close to 100 million
gallons per day. The Columbia South Shore Well
Field is the second largest water source in the
State of Oregon, with about half the capacity of
Portland’s Bull Run source.
Center for Columbia
Columbia Slough Community History
Explore the history of the Columbia Slough
and its communities. View the images and read
that tell about slough's past. Listen to the
voices and read the oral histories of those
a transformation from farm to city, and of
those who created diverse social, environmental,