Officials are ready to celebrate its completion next year. Except that no one really knows the "milestone" is coming. The public relations problem, as explained by Dean Marriott, the city's environmental services director? "So much of it has been underground." And, so, details about "coupons" for the tour will soon be forthcoming, he says.
The longtime wastewater project was a big topic at this morning's city council meeting. By late next year, with all remaining outflow points into the Willamette improved, and the East Side tunnel joining one already up and running on the West Side, poop in the river should drop to fewer than 1 billion gallons a year, well down from its high of 6 billion gallons.
Marriott said that already, after 19 years of progress, water quality in the Willamette is "better than at any time in the last century." Added Commissioner Dan Saltzman: "People still think the water is extremely contaminated with sewage. We're not saying there's no sewage, but we've reduced it. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the word out."
Consider this part of the word. And while we think tours are a good start, what about a swimming excursion. Who's first in? Dan? Anyone?
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