Metro purchased Chehalem Ridge in January 2010 with funds from a voter-approved natural areas bond measure designed to protect water quality, wildlife habitat and access to nature for future generations. The property was formerly owned by a lumber company and before that, substantial areas were farms or orchards.
Chehalem Ridge contains three year-round streams that flow to the Tulalatin River – which provides drinking water for 200,000 people. When acquired in 2010 the land was overgrown with dense stands of Douglas Firs. Restoration work since 2010 has thinned the Douglas Fir trees to allow sunlight to reach the ground, invasive plants have been removed and native plants and shrubs planted. Oak and Madrone woodland has space to thrive and wildlife is evident all around.
In 2013, voters across the Portland metropolitan area approved a five-year levy to help care for regional parks and natural areas. The levy raises about $10 million per year, going toward six major initiatives – representing hundreds of projects, including Chehalem Ridge.
The levy focuses on natural area restoration and maintenance, natural area improvement for visitors, park maintenance and improvements, volunteer programs, conservation education and community grants.