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City to purchase River View forest

 

Portland Parks & Recreation, Environmental Services and Metro partner to acquire River View forest in southwest Portland

 

May 2, 2011

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Bureau of Environmental Services announced today the intent to acquire , in partnership with Metro and with assistance of the Trust for Public Land, a 146-acre natural area property in southwest Portland. The purchase of the “River View Property” from River View Cemetery, provides both crucial watershed protection and upland wildlife habitat preservation. Pending City Council approval and an adjustment of tax lot boundaries, acquisition is expected in the summer of 2011.

The $11.25 million purchase was funded by a partnership which combined Portland’s local share of Metro’s voter-approved 2006 natural areas bond measure,  funds from the Environmental Services Grey to Green Initiative,  and Metro’s voter-approved Natural Areas Program.

“This purchase will protect the forest from development, which would have negative impacts on watershed health,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “It will also mark the start of an extensive project to remove invasive vegetation and restore native plants.”

The site will be managed in the future as a natural area by PP&R, which will work with the community to develop a trail and habitat management plan. Immediate plans for the site include habitat stabilization with the removal of such invasive species as English ivy, clematis, and blackberry. Native plants will be restored to the areas that will be managed as natural areas.

“As a key link in the Westside Wildlife Corridor this property has been an important objective for Portland Parks & Recreation’s Natural Areas Acquisition Strategy,” noted City Commissioner Nick Fish. “Thanks to the Trust for Public Land for making the acquisition possible, as well as the foresight of the board of River View Cemetery, we’ve been able to preserve this important tract of land for future generations to enjoy and experience.”

Grey to Green Initiative

The River View property is a high priority investment in natural area protection and restoration. The site features intact headwaters, a densely forested area with 2.2 miles of four perennial streams and three intermittent streams, and a source of cold, clean water for the Willamette River. As part of the City’s five-year initiative to accelerate investments in green infrastructure, the goals of the Environmental Services Grey to Green Initiative include the acquisition and protection of high priority natural areas. Intact headwaters, like those at the River View site, are considered a high value target for the program.

Natural Areas Acquisition Strategy

PP&R’s 2006 Natural Area Acquisition Strategy provides a vision for protecting a healthy connected system of natural areas within the city and outlines a general approach and highlights priority actions to achieve that vision. The protected system of natural areas will consist of green ribbons along major waterways and feature large natural area parks and preserves. Access to nature will be provided to Portland residents from neighborhoods and trails. Adding to and connecting the existing natural areas along the west hills is a key goal of the strategy.  The natural area system within Portland is part of a larger regional system of connected natural areas, linking the Cascade foothills to the Coast Range, the Tualatin River to the Columbia. In addition to the River View site, recent acquisitions have been made throughout the city, including in Forest Park and the natural area buttes in east Portland.

Metro’s Natural Area Program

The Metro Council voted on Thursday to invest funds from the region’s voter-approved 2006 natural areas bond measure in the River View project, which will be recognized in the form of a conservation easement that permanently bans development.

Metro’s Natural Areas Program protects water quality, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities for future generations. Two bond measures have allowed Metro to acquire 11,000 acres across the Portland metropolitan area, including 90 miles of river and stream banks. Metro also has opened three major nature parks and supported hundreds of community projects – some on a small scale, others much larger.

“Metro’s Natural Areas Program empowers every community to protect nature close to home,” said Metro Council President Tom Hughes. “It’s exciting to work with the City of Portland on a project that affects the landscape so dramatically.”

Protecting River View helps meet Metro’s goals for the Willamette River Greenway, one of 27 focal points of the 2006 bond measure. A work plan developed with the help of scientists, land managers and the general public called for protecting forested land west of the Sellwood Bridge.

“River View provides an extraordinary opportunity to protect water quality and wildlife – two of the major objectives of Metro’s Natural Areas Program,” said Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, whose district includes the new natural area.