Once a Braided River screening at the Columbian Theater

Once a Braided River screening at the Columbian Theater


May 31, 2024    
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Columbian Theater
1102 Marine Drive, Astoria, OR, 97103

Event Type

For thousands of years the north reach of the Willamette River was a braided river of shallow channels and islands, rich in biodiversity and home to many bands of indigenous people.

Today the area is designated an industrial sanctuary, but the communities that were displaced or damaged by this so-called sanctuary, see it as an industrial sacrifice zone. Along a six mile stretch of Portland Harbor, hundreds of aging tanks store over 300 million gallons of volatile fossil fuels—90% of the state’s liquid fossil fuel inventory.

Once a Braided River, a new documentary by Barbara Bernstein, focuses on the part of Portland that most Portlanders don’t know about or ignore. It braids together the strands of many issues that face us – climate chaos, rivers contaminated with toxic pollutants, fish and wildlife brought to the brink of extinction by these perilous practices, and the dire hazards of storing immense amounts of explosive fossil fuels upon liquefaction zones underlain by major fault lines along the shorelines of our rivers.

Once a Braided River begins with the story of the river before it was transformed into a Superfund Site and features community groups and activists working to replace the current Industrial Sanctuary with a green working waterfront defined by good jobs, clean energy, and healthy ecosystems. The documentary explores their vision to reclaim this stretch of river as a place where people and wildlife who depend upon the river for their homes, jobs and migration routes can thrive.