Located in the midst of residential subdivisions and industrial buildings in Gresham is a new 33-acre natural area home to frogs, newts, otters, geese and other wildlife.
Decades of human intervention saw Grant Butte Wetlands morph into a dairy farm that’s now defunct. But work is about to start to restore the area to its natural, wilder roots – and that’s cause for celebration Sunday for neighbors and project supporters.
Metro partnered with the City of Gresham and the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District to acquire the site in May for $2.2 million. The land, which borders the Gresham-Fairview Trail, was partially paid for with money from a 2006 voter-approved natural areas bond measure.
The property is one of the last remaining open spaces along Fairview Creek, providing a rare opportunity to protect a significant area and improve water quality in the surrounding watershed. The land also sits adjacent to more than 100 acres of publicly owned land on Grant Butte, allowing for a larger patch of habitat to attract more wildlife.
"It’s been a wetland for hundreds of years,” said Kate Holleran, a natural resources scientist at Metro. “It serves as a refuge in winter for wildlife moving through the area, Canadian geese use it as a breeding ground, and river otter use it as habitat.”
Plans call for scientists to assess wildlife habitat and wetland ecology at the site in the months ahead. The former dairy farm, last operated in 1990, will be deconstructed as part of the restoration, and artifacts will be preserved for interpretive displays.
The hope is to allow some type of public access in the future, though officials are still in the early planning stages, Holleran said.
Grant Butte Wetlands celebration
What: Celebrate the acquisition of a unique 33-acre natural area near Grant Butte. Enjoy a quick presentation about the history of the site, share your vision for its future, connect with neighbors and enjoy a free slice of pie.
When: 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Cascade Athletic Club, 19201 SE Division St., Gresham
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