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ATSDR in Partnership With Oregon
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(ATSDR) is the lead public health agency responsible for
implementing the health-related provisions of the Comprehen-
sive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
of 1980 (CERCLA). ATSDR is an Atlanta-based federal
agency with 400 employees. ATSDR's annual budget for 2003
is approximately million. ATSDR is responsible for
assessing the presence and nature of health hazards at specific
Superfund sites, helping to prevent or reduce further exposure
and illnesses that result, and expanding the knowledge base
about the health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.
ATSDR works closely with state agencies to carry out its
waste sites and preventing adverse health effects. ATSDR provides funding and technical assistance for states to
identify and evaluate environmental health threats to communities. These resources enable state and local health
departments to further investigate environmental health concerns and educate communities. This is accomplished
31 states, 1 American Indian nation (Gila River Indian Community), and 1 commonwealth (Puerto Rico Department
of Health). From 1992 through 2002, ATSDR awarded more than ,289,034 in direct funds and services to the
state of Oregon (see chart for breakdown of funds). In addition to direct funds and services, ATSDR provides
technical and administrative guidance for state-conducted site activities.
ATSDR Site-Specific Activities
Public Health Assessment-Related Activities
of the agency's important mandates
is to conduct public
of all National Priorities List
(NPL) sites and of other sites where a significant threat to the public health might exist. Oregon now has 16 NPL
A public health assessment provides a written, comprehensive evaluation of available data and information on
the release of hazardous substances into the environment in a specific geographic area. Such releases are assessed for
current or future impact on public health. ATSDR staff, in conjunction with public health and environmental officials
from Oregon, has conducted 15 health assessments in the state. The following text describes a public health assess-
ment ATSDR is conducting in the state.
Portland Harbor--This site comprises a 6-mile section of the Willamette River in the north part of down-
town, referred to as Portland Harbor. ATSDR is collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Oregon Departments of Environmen-
tal Quality and Fish and Wildlife, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and six American
Indian tribal nations to address pertinent issues.
This area is of great significance to tribal nations in the region as a cultural and natural resource for which the
federal government has treaty obligations to protect. Additionally, the Willamette River provides a critical
migratory corridor and rearing habitat for several species of fish, some of which are endangered species.