A piece of prime real estate destroyed by toxic waste lies at the Willamette River’s edge below the University of Portland bluff and just North of Swan Island. For about 40 years, starting in the late 1940s, McCormick & Baxter used creosote, a coal-tar derivative; pentachlorophenol; and arsenic on the site to pressure-treat railroad ties and telephone poles. The chemicals are toxic and cause cancer in humans.

You can access this area via several public roads off N Willamette. There are areas which are open to the public, and areas where rust on trampled fencing shows perhaps several years of easy access. And there are areas where both signage and common sense say NO. We saw rabbits, heron, ducks, mice, crows, grackels, raccoon droppings, snakes, squirrels, a hawk, feral cats, teenagers and a deer.

Portland, neat and tidy environmentally friendly Portland, has several EPA Superfund sites in the city limits. They’re all fun to visit – but there’s more wildlife, and lost opportunity at the McCormick & Baxter Creosoting Company Superfund site.

“Is graffiti art?” is not an interesting question. The interesting question is, “If graffiti becomes art, will you recognize it?”

Yay! McCormick & Baxter is listed as one of the Worst Places In The World by Sprol.com.

I like the junk on top of junk on top of junk style. And from the look of the water, I suggest no one eat fish which swim downstream.

More about McCormick & Baxter at NOAA, EPA, University of Portland, and at Scorecard.org.