Slough luncheon provides fun facts – and food

If you missed this neat event on the Columbia Slough, there’s more fun coming up on Saturday! Take a look …

The first order of business at Subs on the Slough is obvious – build a submarine sandwich lunch.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Dining alongside the Columbia Slough may not seem like an appetizing idea, because many people remember it as a sewage-filled drainage ditch.

But, one of the reasons the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC) teams up with the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) for this event is to prove a point: This waterway has been cleaned up – and is now a great place for recreation.

CSWC Outreach Director Melissa Sandoz gives a brief history of the Columbia Slough.

“Our annual ‘Subs on the Slough’ is a casual lunchtime meeting in which we give information,” explained CSWC Outreach Director, Melissa Sandoz at the gathering in the shadow of Groundwater Wellhead #9, on August 19.

“In addition to serving lunch, people learn the history of the Columbia Slough,” Sandoz smiled. “We’ll also be talking about the importance of our groundwater system – it’s right below us.”

Philip Clark looks at the provided information while enjoying lunch. “I’ve always been interested to learn more about Columbia Slough,” he says.

The Portland Water Bureau’s Rebecca Geisen explains why everyone needs to work to keep pollutants out of the groundwater areas near the slough.

“Groundwater is a very integral part of Portland’s water system,” added PWB’s Water Resources Program Manager, Rebecca Geisen, as she picked up the topic. “It’s our backup source, when the unfiltered water from Bull Run gets highly turbid, or during a dry summer when we need to augment our Bull Run supply.

“It only makes sense to protect our groundwater supply,” Geisen pointed out to the 22 folks attending. “We’ll cover this in detail during our ‘Aquifer Adventure’ on September 17. But to sum it up: ‘Don’t put bad stuff in the ground, it seeps into our water supply’!”

If you missed the Columbia Slough Regatta (CLICK HERE to see our story about this year’s event), Sandoz pointed out that they’ve installed a new canoe dock just south of East Airport Way at 166th Avenue. “We definitely recommend people come and check that out.  They can park there, and go along the Columbia Slough trail as well.  If you’re interested in hiking or kayaking, this is a good site.”

This new canoe dock welcomes visitors who want to explore the eastern part of the Columbia Slough.

Aquifer Adventure returns September 17
Sandoz reminded that from noon until 4:00 p.m., people are invited to come out for a free pirate-themed “groundwater treasure hunt”.

> See our story about the 2010 Aquifer Adventure: CLICK HERE.

“In this fun family festival, kids and adults will learn all about groundwater,” Sandoz explained. “They’ll play games and go on a scavenger hunt in search of hidden treasure – not gold, but groundwater: A precious resource that flows beneath your feet.

“Come dressed in your finest pirate togs, or else the Cap’n might make ye walk the plank!” Sandoz joshed.

There will be canoeing for the whole family – and free t-shirts for kids, live music, and food for purchase. No registration is required for this free event. It’s at the Portland Water Bureau Canoe Launch, NE 166th at Airport Way. For more information, see Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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