Robert Pamplin Jr., mayor to discuss land donation to the city

Mayor Tom Potter is scheduled to meet with Robert Pamplin Jr. on Wednesday to discuss the future of Ross Island and the next steps for ensuring the protection of its environmentally sensitive habitat.

The discussions involve Pamplin donating a significant portion of the island to the city, according to his lawyer, Frank Cable of Miller Nash LLP.

'This meeting is part of the ongoing discussion to resolve the future of Ross Island,' Cable said.

The island is owned by Pamplin's company, Ross Island Sand and Gravel. He also owns the Portland Tribune, Community Newspapers Inc. and the KPAM (860 AM) radio station.

Pamplin committed to turning over a portion of the island to the city in January 2001 when Vera Katz was mayor. Several issues had to be resolved before the transfer could take place, including the development of a plan for the reclamation of the lagoon, which had been mined over the years by the sand and gravel company.

Although mining operations now are over, the company needs to continue using the lagoon and adjacent Hardtack Island - which will not be a part of the negotiations - for its concrete manufacturing operation, Cable said. According to Cable, Potter and Pamplin are expected to discuss how much of the rest of the island will be donated to the city.

Ross Island actually combines two islands that were joined artificially in 1927 to create a 175-acre stretch of land that nearly surrounds a 160-acre lagoon. The lagoon has been mined to a depth of 130 feet.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Ross Island Sand and Gravel announced they had established a schedule for implementing the cleanup of contaminated soils and sediments at Ross Island. According to the announcement, the schedule addresses all elements of the cleanup, including capping actions on land and in the water; long-term monitoring and management; and the associated reporting requirements. The target date for completing remedial action is February 2008. Long-term monitoring of the site will continue indefinitely.

To the extent feasible, this schedule has been integrated with the reclamation activities taking place at Ross Island under a permit with the Department of State Lands, the announcement said.

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