Man pleads guilty to clean water act violation

Multnomah County

The 59-year-old negligently discharged harmful quantities of oil into the Willamette River

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In this Thursday, July 6, 2017 photo, late afternoon sun sparkles off the Willamette River through downtown Portland, Ore. Portland is well-known as a tree-hugging, outdoorsy city, but the river that powers through its downtown has never been part of that green reputation. For decades, residents have been repulsed by the idea of swimming in […]

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland man has pleaded guilty in federal court for violating the Clean Water Act related to the Willamette River in Portland.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon says 59-year-old Robert La Rue Webb pleaded guilty Monday to negligently discharging harmful quantities of oil into a U.S. waterway.

Court documents say on Jan. 22, 2018, Webb was pumping oil into a 10,000-gallon used-oil tank at the Union Pacific Albina Railyard in Portland.

Documents say while operating the pump, Webb walked away to make a phone call and was distracted as the tank overflowed.

More than 1,000 gallons of oil entered a storm water drain and was discharged into the Willamette River, resulting in a sheen and discoloration of the river’s surface.

He will be sentenced in October.

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