Portland planners have a new proposal to annex West Hayden Island for a mix of port development and environmental protection.

Michael Clapp / OPB

West Hayden Island and ships on the Columbia River

Developing the western end of Hayden Island in the Columbia River has been a Port of Portland priority for many years.

While a proposal last year promised to set aside 500 acres for conservation, local residents and environmental groups opposed it, and the city's planning commission wouldn't recommend it.

Staff planners are now saying they've changed more than a dozen aspects of the proposal -- addressing concerns about health impacts, flood plains, and plans for a neighborhood park, among other things.

Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society of Portland has battled with the Port over West Hayden Island for years. He remains skeptical.

"We're still in the process of going through the report, but right now, our position is the mitigation in terms of the community and terms of the environment is not sufficient - and it's also extremely uncertain," says Sallinger.

City planners say the proposal doesn't have the Port's endorsement, either.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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