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Clackamas River Bluffs and Greenway goals and objectives

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

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Clackamas River Bluffs and Greenway target area. View maps illustrating the Metro Council's priorities and learn more about the importance of this area to our region.

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

photo of Clackamas River Bluffs and Greenway target area

Goals

  • Protect sensitive riparian areas, wetlands, and side channels along the Clackamas River from Goose Creek west towards the confluence with the Willamette River for fish and wildlife habitat protection, enhancement and restoration. Protect water quality and improve fish and wildlife habitat in the lower Clackamas River by acquiring and restoring native plant communities and side channels.
  • Protect unique geological features, habitat for rare species and lands that could provide a regionally significant nature park on the mostly undeveloped Clackamas River Bluffs.

Objectives

Tier I Objectives

  • Protect the undeveloped floodplain lands along both sides of the lower Clackamas River from Barton Park to Clear Creek (Carver Boat Ramp) with remnant side channels, gravel bars, intact forests and wetlands for improving fish habitat and maintaining water quality.
  • Protect the undeveloped floodplain lands along both sides of the lower Clackamas River from Clear Creek to Beebe Island (Johnson Creek curves) with remnant side channels, gravel bars, intact forests and wetlands for improving fish habitat and maintaining water quality.
  • Protect scenic views and provide future recreational opportunities by acquiring lands along the Clackamas River Bluffs to create a regionally significant nature park.

Tier II Objective

  • Protect the undeveloped floodplain lands along both sides of the lower Clackamas River from Beebe Island (Johnson Creek curves) to the confluence with the Willamette River with remnant side channels, gravel bars, intact forests and wetlands for improving fish habitat.

Partnership Objectives

  • Partnership opportunities exist for leveraging regional funds for fee-simple purchase or conservation easements with the Three Rivers Land Conservancy, which holds a conservation easement on a parcel on the Clackamas River Bluffs.
  • Partnership opportunities may exist for long-term management of purchased properties on the Clackamas River Bluffs with Clackamas County Parks, North Clackamas Park District and Oregon State Parks.
  • Partner with PGE for habitat enhancement and restoration project funding.

About the area

The Clackamas River Greenway is defined as the river corridor from Gladstone upstream to the Barton Park area. Gravel bars and riparian zones interspersed with cottonwood forests are found in this lower portion of the river. Besides providing habitat for wildlife and fish, the river and its floodplain possess significant scenic value and offer a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The river is also an important source of drinking water in the region. The Clackamas River Bluffs border the river's north bank between Southeast 232nd and Carver. This relatively undeveloped line of bluffs contains distinctive geologic formations with a cliff and cave system that provides unique bat habitat. The area is forested with a diverse mix of oak, madrone, cedar and fir, including patches of old growth providing large-scale wildlife habitat connections between the Clackamas River and watersheds of the East Buttes area near Damascus and Gresham.

2006 Natural Areas Program bond description

Clackamas River Bluffs represent the last remaining opportunity to protect a large regional park site within this rapidly developing portion of Clackamas County. Uncommon habitat types in this area, resulting from wet and dry conditions in close proximity, create a rich diversity of plant and animal habitats (e.g., oak, madrone, and fir mixed into side canyons of cedar). The site also abuts the Clackamas River North Bank Greenway from Barton Park to Clackamette Park and provides an important link to the lower river and the developing communities of Damascus and Happy Valley.

1995 Natural Areas Program goals and accomplishments

  • Create a lower Clackamas River greenway between the eastern city limit of Gladstone and Barton Park.
  • Acquire up to eight miles of greenway corridor along the north bank of the Clackamas River between Carver and Oregon City to provide flood storage, fish and wildlife habitat, scenic and recreational values and water quality.

To date 608.5 acres have been protected on the north bank of the Clackamas River from Clackamette Park at the confluence with the Willamette River to Carver.

New focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

  • Secure a natural corridor from Carver to Barton.
  • Connect the lands along the Clackamas River to the Clackamas River Bluffs "Big Park," and its upstream tributaries, including Deep Creek and Noyer Creek.
  • Initial estimates are that a minimum of 450 acres of land would be protected within this target area.

Field research and scientific data findings

Clackamas River Bluffs

  • There is a unique headland of an exposed Boring lava cliff-face with large parcels of undeveloped forestland.
  • Bluffs area contains an old-growth forest and rare geologic and natural heritage features besides providing good habitat for birds and wildlife.
  • Talus caves support possibly three species of rare bats of great conservation value.

Clackamas River

  • The river is a vital migration corridor for coho salmon and steelhead to spawning habitats in the upper tributaries.
  • Undeveloped floodplains with remnant side channels, gravel bars, forests and wetlands are important to fish habitat and water quality.
  • Quality of aquatic habitat and connectivity with other natural areas increases with distance from the confluence with the Willamette River.
  • Invasive weed species (Japanese knotweed, English ivy) are of concern in lower and upper reaches.

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.

Need assistance?

Natural Areas Program
503-797-1545
naturalareas@oregonmetro.gov

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