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A little rain and wind didn’t deter Portlanders from turning out last Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of Westmoreland Park’s pond restoration and nature play areas. Environmental Services worked with Portland Parks & Recreation, the Army Corps of Engineers and many other partners to restore a more natural flow in Crystal Springs Creek through Westmoreland Park.
Now there is a beautiful natural area in place of a concrete duck pond, and already the salmon are coming back. We couldn’t have timed the celebration any better.
Coho salmon showed up earlier this month and were present at the party, along with other distinguished guests, including US Representative Earl Blumenauer, Commissioner Nick Fish, Judy BlueHorse Skelton (PSU Professor of Indigenous Studies), Colonel Jose Aguilar (Army Corps of Engineers Portland District Engineer and Commander), Delores Pigsley (Confederated Tribes of Siletz Tribal Chair), John George (Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde Tribal Chair), Carlotta Collette (Metro Counselor), Mike Abbate (Portland Parks & Recreation Director), and Jane Bacchieri (Environmental Services Watershed Services Manager).
Here's a glimpse of before and after at Westmoreland Park. In 2012, the concrete-lined creek and pond. In 2014, the area is transformed to a natural creek and wetlands:
The Westmoreland Park restoration is part of the overall effort to restore Crystal Springs Creek, a tributary to Johnson Creek in southeast Portland. So far, seven of the nine culverts blocking fish passage and impacting water quality along Crystal Springs have been removed or replaced. The final two culverts, at SE Bybee Street and SE Glenwood Boulevard will be constructed next summer. A project to manage stormwater from SE Tacoma Street will be constructed next spring to protect water quality in the area.
Learn more about the Crystal Springs projects at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/crystalsprings.
Check out more coverage and great photos from the big event and the salmon spawning: