Permit Application Public Notices

The United States Congress authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to regulate activities that may impact wetlands and waters of the United States. This authority is granted and defined under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, also known as the Clean Water Act.

Public involvement is a key element of the Corps’ permit review process. During an application review, the Corps considers the views of other federal, state and local agencies, Native American tribes, interest groups, and the general public. The results of this careful public interest review are fair and equitable decisions that allow reasonable use of private property, infrastructure development, and growth of the economy, while offsetting the authorized impacts to the waters of the United States.

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Portland District
Published Jan. 14, 2021
Expiration date: 2/13/2021

Application for Permit

Issue Date: January 14, 2021
Expiration Date: February 13, 2021
US Army Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2018-486
Oregon Department of State Lands No: (Not Assigned)

30-Day Notice

Interested parties are hereby notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District (Corps) has received an application for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in waters of the United States, as described below and shown on the attached plans. The Corps is soliciting comments on the proposed work.

Applicant: Multnomah County
Attention: Megan Neill
1403 SE Water Avenue 
Portland, Oregon 97214
Telephone: (503) 988-0437

Applicant’s Agent: HDR 
Attention: Greg Mazer
1050 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1800
Portland, Oregon 97204
Telephone: (503) 423-3723

Location: The project is located in the Willamette River, River Mile 12.7 at the Burnside Bridge crossing of the Willamette River in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. The site is in Section 34 of Township 01 North, Range 01 East. Latitude and Longitude:  45.5230°, -122.6676°.

Waterway: The Willamette River.  The ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of the Willamette River is shown on the project drawings and has been verified by the Corps. 

Project Purpose: The applicant’s stated purpose is to create a seismically resilient Burnside Bridge while improving all modes of traffic over the Willamette River within Portland.

Project Description: The proposed project is the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project which consists of replacing the existing Burnside Bridge.  The proposed replacement bridge consists of a long-span bridge with three bridge sections and two options for the center movable span. The west approach for the bridge would include a 450 foot clear span to extend east from Naito Parkway to the movable center span. The east approach for the bridge would include a 740 foot clear span to extend west from SE 2nd Avenue to the moveable center span. The existing piers 2, 3, and 4 would be removed and piers 2 and 3 would be reconstructed in the river for the movable span. The new piers would be positioned in the same locations or immediately landward of the existing piers to provide a minimum 205 feet of horizontal clearance between the piers for the purpose of maintaining navigation. The two possible options for the movable span include a bascule lift or a vertical lift. The bascule lift design for the bridge would have slightly larger piers than the vertical lift.  These two different moveable span designs and their overall scope of impacts are discussed below.  All three segments of the completed bridge would measure approximately 2,292 feet long. 

Dredging and riprap removal would occur around existing piers 2, 3, and 4 to facilitate their removal. Piers 2 and 3 would be removed to minus 34 feet in elevation (NAVD 88) and pier 4 would be removed to minus 25 feet in elevation (four feet below the riverbed). Additional dredging would occur in the river along the south side of the bridge to increase the riverbed depth to approximately minus 40 feet elevation in order to achieve a no net rise in flood elevation as required by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If testing of the sediments indicates sediments are contaminated, dredging would extend to minus 42 feet elevation and clean sand would be discharged over the streambed in a layer measuring up to two feet thick to prevent exposure of contaminated sediments to the water column and/or migration of contaminated sediment. The dredged sediments and removed riprap would be disposed of in an upland location. Temporary riprap removal would occur along the Eastbank Esplanade to facilitate installation of a temporary work bridge and an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessible pedestrian path. 

The project overall would dredge, demolish, and remove approximately 76,500 cubic yards (cy) of materials from below the OHWM of the Willamette River to facilitate project construction. Up to 13,900 cy of the materials includes streambed sediments dredged from approximately 2.1 acres of streambed to achieve a no-rise certification from FEMA. 

To facilitate the construction of the new bridge piers, two large cofferdams measuring 106 feet wide and 175 feet long would be constructed around pier 2 and 3 to encapsulate both the proposed pier locations and the existing piers and occupy an area measuring 4,300 square feet.  The temporary construction work bridges would require the installation of 455 steel piles to support the 1,500 square foot structures. Discharges of fill material below the OHWM of the Willamette River associated with constructing two potential bridge approaches are discussed further below. 

Bridge approach #1 would install the temporary work bridges and cofferdams. The existing riprap around existing piers 2 and 3 would be removed and the piers would be demolished and removed in their entirety to minus 34 feet elevation. New piers would be constructed within the same location, or immediately landward of the existing piers. Each pier would have eighteen 12 foot diameter shafts drilled to the required depths of elevation for bridge stability. Once each shaft is drilled to the required depth, a rebar cage would be installed and concrete discharged into the shafts. 

Bridge approach #2 would remove the existing pier 2 and pier 3 to three feet below the mudline and new main river piers would be constructed landward of each pier. This method would demolish the bridge and then cut the piers into manageable pieces to be removed by a crane. The installation of the shafts and pier would occur within a conventional cofferdam. There are two options for the configuration of the pier which includes the location of the base of the pier.  The first option has a pier base on the bottom of the river with drill shafts extending to a few feet above the riverbed.  The second option is a perched pier. For this option the shafts would extend approximately ten feet higher than the height of the shafts in the first option. The perched piers would be constructed within perched cofferdams. Each pier would have eighteen 12 foot diameter shafts drilled to the required depths of elevation for bridge stability. With both pier options, the discharge of fill material and impacts to the Willamette River are the same. After each shaft is drilled to the required depth, a rebar cage would be installed and concrete discharged into each shaft.

Overall, the project entails the discharge of 14,900 cy of steel-reinforced concrete for the construction of the 36 shafts for the new piers 2 and 3. An additional 55,754 cy of concrete would be poured around the piers from minus 34 feet elevation to minus 72.5 feet elevation. Up to 59,959 cy of steel reinforced concrete would be discharged below the OHWM to construct the bridge footings, piers, and the debris fenders. A total of 6,789 cy of clean sand may be discharged below the OHWM to cover any exposed contaminated sediments from the dredging area to meet FEMA’s no-rise requirements. 

Once the bridge piers are constructed the bridge structure would be constructed. The bridge deck for the center span would be built offsite, floated to the site, and lifted into place by cranes. Approximately 10 various barges would be used for equipment, to remove materials, to bring supplies, and to move components in and out of the construction area. The project overall would permanently discharge a total of 160,172 cy of material below the OHWM of the Willamette River.

Additional work proposed and regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard, includes the temporary installation of 155 steel piles to support the work bridges to construct the pedestrian connection between the Eastbank Esplanade and the bridge. The pedestrian connection would be enhanced to provide ADA access. Parts of the existing Esplanade would be demolished and replaced with a stable and functional structure. The bicycle and pedestrian connection may extend under the bridge to both the north and south along the eastern shoreline. The project may also retain the existing pedestrian connection from the bridge to the Eastbank Esplanade in a similar configuration as it now exists.  Up to 4,370 cy of steel reinforced concrete would be discharged below the OHWM to construct the drilled shafts and column struts for the Eastbank Esplanade Pedestrian connection.

Dredged Material Testing: The proposed dredged material will be evaluated in accordance with the Sediment Evaluation Framework for the Pacific Northwest (SEF).  The interagency Portland Sediment Evaluation Team (PSET) implements the SEF for the Corps Portland District. The PSET will determine if sediment testing is required for this project. Project sediments may require physical, chemical, and/or biological testing to support the permit application evaluation. The PSET will evaluate the applicant’s sediment testing results and determine if project sediments or the streambed materials are suitable for unconfined, aquatic disposal, or exposure. 

Mitigation: The applicant proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by selecting the long-span design for the replacement bridge to eliminate two in-water piers and eliminate additional soil improvement work.  Additional minimization measures that would be implemented during project construction include using cofferdams to isolate the in-water work area, using barges to transport demolished materials, removing only riprap needed for access to install piling, and ensuring green concrete does not come into contact with flowing waters. Any contaminated water from inside the cofferdams would be treated prior to being discharged back into the Willamette River. The applicant has provided a proposed compensatory aquatic resource mitigation plan to offset losses of waters of the U.S. that may result from the proposed project. The applicant proposes to purchase 4.91 credits from a mitigation bank within the local service area of the project with credits available for riverine habitat. The Corps will determine the type and amount of compensatory mitigation necessary to offset environmental losses from the proposed project.

Drawings:  Nineteen (19) drawings are attached and labeled Corps No. NWP-2018-486. Copies of this public notice, which have been mailed or otherwise physically distributed, feature project drawings in black and white. The electronic version features those drawings in color, which we think more accurately illustrates the proposed project. To access the electronic version of this public notice, go to the Portland District Regulatory website at and select Regulatory Public Notices from the list of Regulatory pages.

Additional Information: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead federal agency for this project under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Federal Highway Administration issued a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact State for this project on April 14, 2020. The Corps is a cooperating agency for the preparation of the EIS. Additional information on the status of permitting requirements for the project is available on the Permitting Dashboard website (

The applicant has requested a 10-year permit based upon the scope and duration of the work proposed. The Corps is evaluating the permit application under procedures for a standard individual permit.

Authority: The proposed project will be evaluated under the following:

Section 14, Rivers and Harbors Act 1899 (33 U.S.C. 408) (referred to as “Section 408”), for work to alter a Corps civil works project. An alteration is defined as any action that builds upon, alters, improves, moves, occupies or otherwise affects the usefulness, or the structural or ecological integrity of a Corps federally authorized project. The proposed project may alter the Federal Navigation Channel. 

Section 404, Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344), for discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.

Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines: The described discharge will be evaluated for compliance with guidelines promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under authority of Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act. The 404(b)(1) Guidelines are the substantive criteria used in evaluating discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States. The source of the fill material would be from local commercial sources.

Water Quality Certification: Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1341) requires applicants to obtain a water quality certification for proposed discharges into waters of the United States. A permit for the described work will not be issued until certification has been issued or is waived from the certifying state. Attached is the state's notice for a water quality certification.

Endangered Species: Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C 1536) requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on all actions that may affect a species listed (or proposed for listing) under the ESA as threatened or endangered or that may adversely modify designated critical habitat. The Corps’ preliminary review indicates the described activity may affect endangered species or designated critical habitat. For this project, the FHWA, as the lead Federal agency for ESA consultation, will consult with the NMFS and/or the USFWS as required under Section 7 of the ESA. 

Essential Fish Habitat: Section 305(b)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) as amended (16 U.S.C 1855), requires Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). The Corps’ preliminary review indicates the described activity would adversely affect EFH at the project location or in its vicinity. For this project, the FHWA, as the lead Federal agency for MSA consultation, will consult with the NMFS as necessary. 

Historic Properties/Cultural Resources: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470), requires Federal agencies to consult with the appropriate State and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Native American Tribes to take into account the effects of actions they undertake or permit on historic properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. For this project, the FHWA, as the lead Federal agency for determining compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA, will consult with the appropriate State and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Native American Tribes as applicable. The Corps’ preliminary review indicates the permit area is likely to yield resources eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. An investigation for the presence of potentially eligible historic properties is justified and would be required prior to the Corps’ final permit decision.

This notice has been provided to the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), interested Native American Tribes, and other interested parties. If you have information pertaining to cultural resources within the permit area, please provide this information to the Corps’ project manager identified at the end of this notice to assist in a complete evaluation of potential effects.

Federal, State and Local Authorizations: The applicant has obtained approval from Multnomah County and will be applying for the following additional governmental authorizations for the project: U.S. Coast Guard Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act Bridge Permit, a 1200-C permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the applicant will apply for an Oregon Department of State Lands Removal/Fill Permit in Summer of 2021.

Public Hearing: Any person may request in writing within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings shall state with particularity the reasons for holding a public hearing.

Evaluation: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of the proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to allow an alteration of a federally authorized project or to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

Submitting Comments: Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed project.  Comments may be submitted by conventional mail or email. All comments received will be considered in determining whether authorizing the work would be contrary to the public interest. 

Either conventional mail or e-mail comments must include the Corps reference number as shown on page 1 and include the commenter’s name and address. In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the Corps reference number. All comments received will become part of the administrative record and are subject to public release under the Freedom of Information Act including any personally identifiable information such as names, phone numbers, and addresses.

Additional information about the proposed project may be obtained from the Corps Project Manager listed below. All comments, whether by conventional mail or email, must be received no later than the expiration date of this public notice to ensure consideration. Comments should be submitted to the following mailing address or email address:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
Benny A. Dean Jr. 
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, Oregon 97208-2946
Telephone: (541) 465-6769

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Water Quality 401 Certification

Notice Issued: January 14, 2021
Written Comments Due: February 13, 2021

Corps of Engineers No: NWP-2018-486
Oregon Department of State Lands No: (Not Assigned)

WHO IS THE APPLICANT: Multnomah County

LOCATION OF CERTIFICATION ACTIVITY: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice.

WHAT IS PROPOSED: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice on the proposed project.

NEED FOR CERTIFICATION: Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act requires applicants for Federal permits or licenses to provide the Federal agency a water quality certification from the State of Oregon if the proposed activity may result in a discharge to waters of the state.

DESCRIPTION OF DISCHARGES: See attached U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice on the proposed project.

WHERE TO FIND DOCUMENTS: Documents and materials related to water quality issues as a result of the proposal are available for examination and copying at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 401 Water Quality Permit Coordinator, Northwest Region, 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, Oregon 97232. Other project materials are available by contacting the Corps per the attached public notice.

Scheduling an appointment will ensure that water quality documents are readily accessible during your visit. To schedule an appointment please call DEQ Water Quality at Northwest Region at (503) 229-5623.

Any questions on the water quality certification process may be addressed to the 401 Permit Coordinator at (503) 229-5623 or toll free within Oregon at (800) 452-4011. People with hearing impairments may call the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service at (800) 735-2900.


Public Hearing: Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 340-48-0032 (2) states that “The Corps provides public notice of and opportunity to comment on the applications, including the application for certification, provided that the department (DEQ), in its discretion, may provide additional opportunity for public comment, including public hearing.” 

Written comments: Written comments on project elements related to water quality must be received at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality by 5 p.m. on the date specified in the upper right section on page one of this notice. Written comments may be emailed or mailed as described below: 

Email -

Mail - Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Northwest Region
           700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600
Portland, Oregon 97232           
Attn: 401 Water Quality Permit Coordinator 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: DEQ will review and consider all comments received during the public comment period. Following this review, certification of the proposal may be issued as proposed, issued with conditions, or denied. You will be notified of DEQ's final decision if you submit comments during the comment period. Otherwise, if you wish to receive notification, please call or write DEQ at the above address.

ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION: DEQ can provide documents in an alternate format or in a language other than English upon request.  Call DEQ at (800) 452-4011 or email