Protecting land in the East Buttes provides opportunities to protect water quality and connect wildlife from urban Portland to the slopes of Mount Hood.
Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the East Buttes target area. View maps illustrating the Metro Council's priorities in this area and learn more about the importance of the area to our region.More
Reaching from Portland's urban east side out to Gresham and into the fast-growing Damascus area ancient lava domes provide panoramic vistas east and south of spectacular valleys, farmland and the Cascades. The forested buttes frame the valleys and create a unique geography for local residents.
"I am the happiest girl in Happy Valley," said resident Lori Luchak in an email to Metro. Her reaction was prompted by the announcement of Metro's purchase of 21-acres on the north side of Scouter Mountain in July 2008.
The property is home to beautiful old cedar trees, big-leaf maple, Douglas fir and alders. At least one family of deer are spotted there regularly and a variety of other wildlife, including local and migratory birds like flicker, pileated woodpecker and winter wrens, find food and shelter in the area as well. The property includes a portion of Mitchell Creek, which drains to Johnson Creek, helping protect water quality.
Rising more than 700 feet above the valley floor, Scouter Mountain is located between rapidly growing Happy Valley and Pleasant Valley east of the I-205 freeway. Scouter Mountain is part of a series of extinct lava domes in the eastern part of the region that includes Portland's Mount Scott and Powell Butte, the buttes in Gresham and Mount Talbert in Clackamas. The new acquisition at Scouter Mountain builds on the region's legacy of protecting a large natural corridor stretching from Gresham to the Clackamas River for the benefit of wildlife. New recreation opportunities for residents will also be possible in the future.
The City of Happy Valley contributed $100,000 of local funds toward the acquisition and will be responsible for the long-term management of the natural area.
During the past decade Metro and the City of Gresham have worked together to preserve a broad, forested corridor in what is called the East Buttes in an effort to protect wildlife from the impacts of urban development. Metro has acquired hundreds of acres in this area – some of the most valuable property in the region – adding to the natural area lands Gresham began protecting with their own natural area acquisition program in the early '90s.
One of only a few remaining privately-owned properties within the large, protected wildlife corridor of Gresham's East Buttes was purchased by Metro and the city in May 2007. The property is located north of Butler Road and west of Southeast Regner Road and known locally as Gabbert Hill. It was planned for a development called Darby Ridge. The property acquisition by the two governments ends a battle between neighbors and the developer and removes the potential of the housing development becoming an obstacle to wildlife movement within the area.
"These buttes are Gresham's point of pride and self-identity," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "It has been a dream for many in this community to continue the protection of our signature buttes and we are pleased that we could work together with the Metro Council to make this dream a reality."
The City of Gresham paid 25 percent of the purchase price and Metro the remainder. Directly adjacent to the west of the property is land previously protected by Metro, and adjacent to the south and northeast of the property is land owned by the city.
The Persimmon Development Group's $5 million donation in 2007 – as part of the sale of a total 92-acres – is the largest ever to Metro's Natural Areas Program. The property is located east of Gresham and contains the headwaters of Hogan Creek, a tributary of Johnson Creek, and includes the forested butte top.
"The acquisition at this butte would not have happened without the commitment of the Persimmon Development Group," said Metro Council President David Bragdon. "While the company could have developed the property for a profit, they instead made a gift to the community and to future generations by selling this valuable area to Metro for much less than its fair market value. This allows us to make an important purchase in a key natural area and stretch the public's dollars."
The City of Gresham will manage the property, which someday could provide the public with scenic trails and overlooks.
Natural Areas Program
Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the East Buttes target area. View maps illustrating the Metro Council's priorities in this area and learn more about the importance of the area to our region.