Thank you for Meerah Powell’s article on the International Paper oil leak into the McKenzie (“Underneath the Oily Surface,” 4/12). The evidence seems clear that IP delayed reporting the discharge to the state, and that this intentional act resulted in additional oil in the river.
Powell correctly notes that the Weyerhaeuser (now IP) mill has a history of violations. I often drift the McKenzie through the reach that is adjacent to IP. For years and years I have noticed the riparian zone there is clearly distressed. The Western red alder trees lining the bank have a yellow-orange coloration on their southern trunks, and they have an unhealthy appearance.
I have boated the McKenzie from Olallie landing below Carmen Smith into and below the confluence with the Willamette. I have seen nothing comparable in those many, many miles. I have no means to connect what I observe to IP; I can only report the coincidence that causes me concern.