I recently toured the site of the former St. Johns Landfill with members of Metro’s North Portland Enhancement Committee. With your support and the support of the St. John’s community, I believe we can complete the transformation of this once burdensome landfill into a celebrated resource for wildlife that will be accessible to everyone in the region – especially the traditionally underserved communities in North Portland.
Beginning in 1940 and continuing for 50 years, Portlanders sent up to 14 million tons of garbage to this 238-acre site. Metro assumed ownership in 1990 and spent the next six years constructing a covering system that allows collection of methane gas emitted from the decomposing trash and prevents rainwater and contaminates from leaching out of the site and into the water. After more than a decade, the site is now in a prairie-like state and is home to coyotes, bald eagles, and threatened species like the streaked horned lark. Efforts to restore native grasses and needed habitat are currently underway, thanks to voters who recently supported Metro’s Natural Areas Levy last month.
Soon, we hope to open this site up to the public and provide access to what’s become an extraordinary natural area. We have a project under consideration to build a bridge from Chimney Park across Columbia Boulevard and into the landfills site. From here a trail would lead to an overlook where you can see the peaks of Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens, the Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, and the wildlife that has made this area home. As other funding opportunities are identified and secured, this trail will continue to Kelly Point Park and connect with the entire trail network.
I need your help to accomplish this first step in opening the site – by securing a grant for a key element of the trail to the former landfill. Many other projects are also under consideration, and letters of support from you would help decision-makers understand how important this project is to the community.