Restoration and maintenance work includes controlling weeds, planting native trees and shrubs, removing unnecessary or harmful culverts and roads, maintaining existing roads and infrastructure, decommissioning unauthorized trails, improving connections between streams and wetlands, and strengthening habitat for fish and wildlife.
After Metro acquires a property, a stabilization plan is drawn up. Stabilization is like the renovation process for a fixer-upper home: it’s a lot of big projects to create a livable habitat. Invasive weeds start getting treated, and dilapidated buildings, septic systems and other structures are removed. This initial work is paid for with money from the 2006 and 2019 natural areas bond measures.
After a site is stable, a site conservation plan is developed to identify the most important actions to improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. A site stewardship plan is also developed to detail weed treatments and maintenance of fence lines, signage and more. Restoration work – often supported with money from the levy – can take years or even decades to complete, after which a site transitions to long-term maintenance.
Metro’s parks and nature local option levy, first passed in 2013, and then renewed in 2016 and again in 2022, provides money to complete weed assessments across Metro’s entire portfolio, and crews treated weeds in the vast majority of its parks and natural areas.
Every winter, a warehouse in Northwest Portland fills with hundreds of thousands of plants and hundreds of pounds, sometimes a couple tons, of seeds. Rather than a sea of pots and greenery, it's shelf after shelf stacked with hundreds of brown paper bags.
Each bag is a bundle of serviceberry or red osier dogwood or tall Oregon grape or another of dozens of native plants. There’s no soil in the bags; each plant looks like it’s just been pulled out of the ground. Which it has, and these bare-root plants need to be planted quickly.
This year, plants went to 18 Metro nature parks and natural areas. Planting crews unbundled the plants, stashed them in shoulder bags and then planted them in forests, along streams and across prairies. They even waded through winter-cold wetlands to place the plants.
In six weeks, they planted 300,000 plants.
From “Metro plants 300,000 plants in six weeks”