Banner Art by Kandace Manning
How Portland abused and degraded the river that runs through it
A New Documentary by Barbara Bernstein
Presented by The Media Project
with the filmmaker and people featured in the film.
For thousands of years the north reach of the Willamette River was a braided river of
shallow channels and islands, rich in biodiversity and home to many bands of
Today the area is designated an industrial sanctuary, but the communities that were
displaced or damaged by this so-called sanctuary, see it as an industrial sacrifice zone.
Along a six mile stretch of Portland Harbor, hundreds of aging tanks store over
300 million gallons of volatile fossil fuels—90% of the state’s liquid fossil fuel inventory.
Once a Braided River, a new documentary by Barbara Bernstein, focuses a lens on
the part of Portland that most Portlanders don't know about or ignore. It
braids together the strands of many issues that face us - climate chaos, rivers
contaminated with toxic pollutants, fish and wildlife brought to the brink of extinction
by these perilous practices, and the dire hazards of storing immense amounts of
explosive fossil fuels upon liquefaction zones underlain by major fault lines along
the shorelines of our rivers.
Once a Braided River begins with the story of the river before it was transformed into a
Superfund Site and features community groups and activists working to replace the
current Industrial Sanctuary with a green working waterfront defined by good
jobs, clean energy, and healthy ecosystems. The documentary explores their vision to
reclaim this stretch of river as a place where people and wildlife who depend upon the
river for their homes, jobs and migration routes can thrive.
Learn more about Once A Braided River
616 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97219
Google map and directions