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UPDATE: Lane County Opens 2 Boat Ramps on McKenzie River

Lane County

Two boat ramps on the McKenzie River near Springfield have been re-opened. They were closed for cleanup of an oil spill earlier this month. Lane County says the barriers blocking the river near Hayden Bridge have been removed and the river is open to boat traffic in that location. The Bellinger and Hendricks boat ramps are now open and accessible. Hayden Bridge boat ramp remains closed until further notice.

Katherine Benenati of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says for several days now, they’ve been discharging water through a pipe at varying pressures, but there’s still some oily sheen. She says for now, they’re leaving the current containment booms in place.

“You can see that orange hard boom goes all the way across the river," Benenati tells KLCC.  "Then there’s also more absorbent white boom that goes along the shore. And that was put in place as a precaution.

"I really encourage residents to just check on (Lane) county’s website, to make sure they get the latest information.”

The pipe measures two miles long and 40 inches in diameter.

Benenati says a line in a machine at the International Paper mill burst, and 200 gallons of oil went through the clean-water pipe, into the McKenzie March 12th.

EWEB says its drinking water wasn’t affected. DEQ crews report no wildlife or people have been harmed.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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