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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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Westmoreland Park: The Return of Wild Salmon to Portland

The city is abuzz with the talk of the recent opening of the new Tilikum Bridge, however, the buzz should not stop there. This year, through a collaboration between the Crystal Springs Partnership, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and supported by local Native American groups, Sunday Parkways is jointly presenting the 2nd Annual Salmon Celebration.

Beautiful OutdoorsThe Salmon Celebration will celebrate the significance of the creek restoration work that has helped foster the return of the wild Coho salmon back into the city for the first time in recent memory. The road to recovery for the Westmoreland Park and the reemergence of the Salmon Celebration have long been in the making.

The master plan from which recent renovations for the Westmoreland Park have been based were developed in 2004 according to an Oregonian article. The park and creek renovation work was accomplished through the collaboration of local environmental and Tribal nonprofits, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Portland Bureaus of Parks and Recreation and Environmental Services, and neighbors.

The scope of the project included converting a duck pond into a wetland, removing nine culverts, adding walkways, planting nearly 2000 native plants and trees, and more. The restoration also included the addition of new features outside of the revived salmon habitat, including a new expanded play area for kids as well as raised walkways over the newly reconstructed wetland.

Last year, in order to highlight the significance of the finished restoration and shed light on the historical and cultural importance of this place, a Lets Playpartnership between local Tribes, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Parks & Recreation office decided to revive an popular salmon festival from years long past. The partners were happy to find there was much to celebrate. Within six months of the completion of the project salmon returned to the creek.

Admittedly, the salmon are the stars of this show. However, they are also symbolic of a wider healthy ecosystem that is now better able to support the variety of life that the Crystal Spring Creek holds, which includes an array of about 100 various plants, birds, mammals and amphibians. The creek is also a major tributary of Johnson Creek, which feeds into the Willamette River, meaning the benefits of this healthy natural space expand far beyond this stretch of creek.

As the Salmon Celebration enters its second year, it decided to join forces with the final Sunday Parkways event of the year, which highlights the Westmoreland Park. This partnership is monumental for not only serving as a forum to highlight Portland’s outer Southeast communities and new transportation infrastructure through Sunday Parkways, but also its green spaces and cultural history through the Salmon Celebration.

Come celebrate the second year of this amazing celebration as well as our new Sunday Parkways route.

WHAT: 2nd Annual Salmon Celebration at Westmoreland Park

WHERE: PP&R’s Westmoreland Park, SE MacLoughlin and Bybee

WHEN: Sunday, September 27, 11am-4pm.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Circus Cascadia, a Native American blessing, tours of the rejuvenated park, games, crafts, and inter-tribal activities.

Want to get involved? Join Crystal Spring Creek’s monthly stewardship events: http://www.crystalspringspdx.org/get-involved.html

*All Photos courtesy of OregonLive