A small island in the Willamette river just South of Portland, OR.

The island is owned by Ross Island Sand & Gravel, who has been mining, curiously enough, sand & gravel there for over 75 years.

Recently, mining (actually dredging would be more correct) has stopped on Ross Island, and apparently Portland industrialist, evangelist and media mogul Bob Pamplin Jr. is working with Portland Commissioner Erik Sten to develop a plan under which Ross Island Sand & Gravel would hand over the island to the city of Portland in what many observers say is a great opportunity to develop wildlife habitat from a gaping wound.

While this presents a chance to turn a large eyesore in the Portland scenery into an asset and home for wild critters, it’s not a done deal. One of the biggest stumbling blocks? RIS&G’s lease stipulates that the pit must be refilled. This pit, which again has been in operating for over 75 years, is over 130 feet deep in places. Technically speaking, that’s a damn big hole. Filling it presents several ecological, financial, and other difficulties. Stay tuned...