The Friends of Oaks Bottom is a volunteer organization working in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation for the promotion, preservation, and management of Oaks Bottom. The Friends participate in habitat restoration, trail maintenance, guided hikes, information programs, and the publication of a newsletter. For more info, call 503-729-0318.
Nature Hawks, quail, pintails, mallards, coots, woodpeckers, kestrels, and widgeons are just the start of the list of birds that one might encounter in Oaks Bottom. Scores of great blue heron are found in the area because of its proximity to one of the rookeries on Ross Island.
Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project Overview Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers worked together in 2018 on a large-scale habitat enhancement project to benefit wildlife and people. The project restored 75 acres of wetland habitat. Click here to read more.
Oaks Bottom is a floodplain wetland located along the east bank of the Willamette River. Part of the park is built on a sanitation landfill consisting of 400,000 cubic feet of construction waste material layered with soil. The City of Portland acquired the original 115 acres in 1959. Parks acquired the landfill property from the Donald M. Drake Company at the beginning of 1969 to block its development as an industrial park. The area was believed, at the time, to be one of the few remaining marshland areas in Portland, and local residents were strongly opposed to its development as industrial property.
Portland Parks & Recreation's Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a 163-acre complex of meadows, woodlands and wetlands in Portland on the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Sellwood Bridge. The refuge is the largest remaining natural area within the lower Willamette River floodplain and provides important habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened salmon and more than 175 bird species.
Oaks Bottom supports many wildlife species that are considered “special status” - in decline on a regional or statewide scale. These include 44 bird species, three bat species, and one type of amphibian.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) manages the site as an important habitat area and an inviting place to view wildlife in the heart of the city. The Springwater Corridor Trail (part of the region’s trail network) bisects the western edge of the refuge. A hiking trail and one hike/bike trail connect the refuge with two visitor parking lots and the Sellwood neighborhood to the east.
PP&R created Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (name changed from Oaks Pioneer Park), the city’s first wildlife refuge, in 1988 after a long history of environmental degradation at the site. The City thanks the Sellwood neighbors, schools and colleges, and many other volunteer and partner groups who help restore habitats at the refuge.