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Tualatin River Greenway goals and objectives

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    Tualatin River Greenway    Goals and objectives

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Tualatin River Greenway 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.

The Metro Council's goals and objectives for the Tualatin River Greenway target area are:

photo of Tualatin River Greenway target area


  • Protect and restore riparian areas and floodplains to improve water quality and to support a diversity of plants and wildlife.
  • Provide additional or enhanced access that will allow people to enjoy the river.


Tier I Objectives

  • Protect natural areas adjacent to existing public lands to provide public access and improve wildlife habitat protection.
  • Continue the work begun in 1995 to enhance the water trail by providing access point sites along the Tualatin River Greenway that meet the following criteria:
    • Locations along the river at intervals of 5 to 10 river miles, allowing for day trips and shorter trips than is now practicable.
    • Safe accessibility from a public roadway that can adequately accommodate additional traffic.
    • Developable for boat ramps and/or docks by presence of existing shallow slopes and banks.
    • Associated with sufficient uplands for such features as parking, restrooms, picnic areas and buffering from the river and adjacent uses.
    • Associated with key locations where there is particular interest in additional boat access/pull-outs including: south of Farmington Road, north side of the river in the vicinity of Rainbow Lane, and in the vicinity of Elsner Road.

Tier II Objectives

  • Acquire land along the Tualatin River for a regional trail that connects Cook Park in Tualatin to Stafford Road.
  • Acquire through the use of easements, donations, dedications or partnership agreements, additions to large natural areas for wildlife habitat and public access.

Partnership Objectives

  • Establish acquisition or management partnerships with other public and private agencies providing for current, proposed or potential access sites and natural areas along the river including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Oregon State Marine Board; Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Clean Water Services; the Cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Tualatin, Durham, River Grove and Lake Oswego; Three Rivers Conservancy.
  • Establish cooperative agreements with groups such as the Tualatin Riverkeepers, Raindrops to Refuge and Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge for the purpose of monitoring and/or maintenance of acquired sites.

About the area

The Tualatin River Greenway runs through several of Metro's Natural Areas Program target areas including Dairy and McKay Creeks Confluence, Lower Tualatin Headwaters and Rock Creek Headwaters and Greenway. The Tualatin River flows leisurely through a mosaic of agricultural and urban land for 78 miles from the Oregon Coast Range to the Willamette River. The river name, which means "lazy river," is derived from the Atfalati people who lived in the Tualatin basin before European settlement. The low gradient and languid water speed make it ideal for canoes and kayaks, but with limited public access, few have been able to experience its surprisingly lush beauty.

The riparian areas and floodplains of the Tualatin River are important for protecting the water quality of the river, which is heavily impacted by urban and agricultural uses. The floodplains and associated wetlands in this area provide water quality benefits and flood storage and support rare plants, considerable numbers of waterfowl and migrating neo-tropical birds. Development of public access to the Tualatin River along the 30-mile stretch from Forest Grove to West Linn continues through efforts by Metro, local governments and citizen groups such as the Tualatin Riverkeepers.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

Providing additional access points along the river and increasing floodplain protection through acquisition and restoration will allow people to use the river and see improvements in wildlife habitat and water quality.

1995 Natural Areas Program goals and accomplishments

  • Add access points at 5-10 river mile intervals from Hillsboro to Tualatin.
  • Acquire a minimum of 266 acres to provide opportunities for habitat preservation and access.

To date 398.3 acres have been protected by Metro's program, including the remarkable Gotter Prairie and lands adjacent to the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge as well as five potential new river access points.

New focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

Providing additional or enhanced river access and protecting floodplain and riparian areas.

Field research and scientific data findings

  • The lower Tualatin River (southwest of King City to the Washington County line) and Butternut Creek are important riparian corridors.
  • Wetlands support several regionally rare and endangered species including steelhead and salmon, Western painted turtles, pond turtles and Northern red-legged frogs.
  • There is a potential opportunity for habitat protection and trail connectivity to other protected natural areas and to support a diversity of plants and wildlife.

Public input helps Metro Council set priorities

In September 2007 the Metro Council approved acquisition plans for each of the 27 regional target areas. The Metro Council established these priorities with the input of natural resource and land use experts, scientists, citizens and local land managers. More than 500 people attended eight community open houses to share their ideas with Metro Councilors. Nearly 1,000 people filled out questionnaires ranking their priorities and offering ideas for partnerships and other ways to stretch the public's investment. The acquisition plans include a map, goals and objectives for each target area.

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Natural Areas Program

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