- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An environmental restoration company wants to turn an old plywood mill into a salmon habitat.

The 25-year-old industrial site has been vacant for 13 years.

Restorcap plans to restore the Linnton Plywood Mill site for salmon habitat and then sell environmental credits to companies that need to make up for inflicting environmental damage, The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/1mK3pNd ).

Ed Jones, chairman of the Linnton Neighborhood Association, says the pending sale is welcome news for Linnton residents, who have watched the mill site sit vacant since 2001.

“It would be too strong to call it an eyesore, but it’s a big, industrial empty building,” Jones said. “This provides a lot prettier place to look at for the community.”

Mary Anne Cassin, a landscape architect who is acting as a spokeswoman for the project, declined to say how much money the Linnton Plywood Association will get in the sale, which still hasn’t been finalized.

Restorcap has begun pursuing the city permits needed to redevelop the site. Crews could begin demolishing the mill next summer, if the project stays on schedule. Then, they’ll remove part of a culvert that shuttles Linnton Creek from Forest Park down through Linnton, underneath a roadway and train tracks before it drains into the Willamette River.

The creek will be “daylighted” at the Linnton site, Cassin said, which means it will be allowed to flow above ground.

The water will curve around a small island on the mill property, then out into the Willamette, Cassin said. Crews will use the land excavated from the streambed to create an upland habitat on the property’s northern end.

An overlook would create public access to the river - a major victory for Linnton residents, who currently have no way to access the river without trespassing on private property.

“It’s been a huge issue for the neighborhood,” Jones said.

Cassin said once the site is restored, it could never be used for another purpose.

“It’s habitat forever,” she said.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com