Our cool — and clean — rivers

If you can sit in the river, it's probably not necessary to wear a flotation vest.

It's hard to beat the shallow waters of a little river when the temperature climbs into the 90s, as it did again Tuesday. In that department, we're pretty well positioned in the mid-valley.

The view above is from the Calapooia River bridge on Queen Avenue/Oakville Road. The gravel bar in the background is always a popular place for families to gather to escape the summertime heat.

There are places like that on the Willamette and Santiam too, especially now that the rivers are running relatively low.

For decades now, federal and state regulations have sought to make our waterways "swimmable" and generally clean. And every summer we see demonstrated the fact that the campaign has succeeded. People can dip into our rivers without undue risk of floating in pollution.

Our population -- sad to say -- keeps increasing and our towns keep getting bigger, which implies that keeping our streams clean will require ever more effort and expense. But scenes like the one shown here should remind us why keeping them clean is an important job. (hh)




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