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Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff goals and objectives

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Protecting natural areas    Acquiring natural areas    Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff    Goals and objectives

Learn about the goals and objectives for habitat and water quality protection in the Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff 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 goal and objectives for the Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluffs target area are:

photo of Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff target area


  • Acquisition of strategic additions in the Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff target area will protect the unique biological, geological and scenic values of this area and allow for a publicly accessible regional natural area to be established.


Tier I Objectives

  • Acquire property adjacent to existing public holdings that are essential to the establishment and management of a publicly accessible regionally significant natural area.
  • Prioritize acquisition of unique landscape forms (kolks, fens, rock outcrops) and rare plant communities (oak woodland, prairie, isolated wetlands).
  • Secure protection of remaining gaps in riparian areas on the west bank of the Willamette River between existing public holdings and Peach Cove fen.
  • Acquire lands to extend public ownership of forested Bluff and protect scenic views of Canemah Bluff from the river and nearby publicly owned lands.

About the area

Just south of West Linn, at its confluence with the Tualatin River, the Willamette River flows through a stretch of steep cliffs and rocky islands called the Willamette Narrows. Upland bluffs offer views of the river, trees and huge basalt rocks, while lower portions offer sandy beach access to the river. Although the area is just minutes from West Linn and Oregon City to the north and Wilsonville to the west, it can feel untouched and remote. The Willamette Narrows is home to deer, coyote, frogs, salamanders, osprey, owls, heron, woodpeckers and numerous songbirds. In the future, it will offer access to people for an extraordinary natural area experience close to home. Many of the region’s most unique plant species, including the rare Delphinium leucophaeum and the culturally significant camas, are found on these sites. The oak woodland and upland prairie habitats found here in abundance have nearly disappeared in other areas of the Willamette Valley.

The protected Peach Cove Bog located in this area is believed to be the only wetland of its kind remaining in the Willamette Valley. The 20-acre shallow lake and associated emergent marsh sit in a depression scoured in bedrock by the Bretz (aka Missoula) Floods thousands of years ago. A floating peat mat rises and falls as the lake level fluctuates with seasonal rains.

Metro’s Natural Areas Program

Voters have asked Metro’s Natural Areas Program to invest a total of $360 million in protecting water quality, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation for future generations. The land preserved so far equal two Forest Parks, or one Beaverton. These special places – acquired in less than two decades – account for nearly one-third of the region’s natural areas and parkland.

Natural Areas Program goals and accomplishments

  • Acquire acreage along the Willamette River Greenway, including at Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff.
  • Acquire bogs, ponds and small drainages to protect water quality and wetland systems.
  • Acquire and protect islands in the Willamette River.
  • Acquire and protect important habitat, including Oregon white Oak and Pacific madrone habitat on Canemah Bluff
  • Close gaps in existing public holdings

New focus for Metro's 2006 Natural Areas Program

The Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff target areas were part of the Willamette River Greenway target area in 1995; they have been combined to form a new, separate target area in the 2006 program.

Field research and scientific data findings

  • The need to complete connections to and between protected natural areas.
  • Protection and preservation of this unique area is under pressure from increased development.
  • Unique Oregon white oak habitat exists in the area.
  • Some listed plant species are present such as rare wildflowers.
  • Riverside habitat values are high because of the diverse topography featuring steep bluffs and plateaus.

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

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