Sue Marshall nurtures Oregon's Tualatin River

In her free time, Sue Marshall can most often be found in acanoe on the lower Tualatin River southwest of Portland, a verdantstretch of mostly flat water overhung with maples and willows andhome to ospreys and herons. In her role as executive director ofTualatin Riverkeepers, Marshall tends to advocate more thanrecreate. But she hasn't forgotten the third element of the group'sthree-part mission: Protect, restore, and enjoy.

"Slow and lazy" is the most likely translation of the AtfalatiIndian name for the 79-mile river that drains Washington County."Stagnant and polluted" is how it's been perceived for most of thelast half-century ― and rightly so, says Marshall. Before theClean Water Act of 1972, the Tualatin carried more than its shareof raw sewage. Those days are gone, but it's had a hard timeshaking the bad rep. And relatively few of the half-million peopleliving in the Tualatin basin have any personal acquaintance withthe river beyond glimpsing it from a freeway bridge.

Neither did Marshall, until she joined the Riverkeepers' firstannual Discovery Day paddle (Jun 26 this year; free) in June 1990. Next thing she knew,she was president of the board. Since then, she and her staff of 5,along with 60 volunteers, have produced a guide to paddling, Exploring the Tualatin River Basin, with directions to 85parks and public-access sites. They also offer paddle trips aboutthree times a month.

"The Tualatin River really needed a PR agent," says Marshall ofthe impulse behind the book. "It really is a fabulous resource thatpeople can enjoy ― and there is a lot more to be done."

On the waterFor information onTualatin paddle trips or to buy their book, contact TualatinRiverkeepers (www.tualatinriverkeepers.orgor 503/590-5813).

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