Thirty-nine acres of upland forest and streamside habitat were added to Metro’s Gordon and Buck Creeks Natural Area in the Sandy River Gorge. The natural area, which now covers more than 570 acres, lies on the east side of the Sandy River, just across from Oxbow Regional Park.
Gordon and Buck Creeks Natural Area
Current size: 577 acres
New addition: 39 acres
Neat feature: 1,828 feet of creek in a canyon
Habitats: Streams, old-growth forest
Animals: Black-tailed deer, cougar, northern flying squirrel
The $75,000 purchase was possible thanks to voters investing in nature by passing the 2019 parks and nature bond. The bond allows Metro to spend up to $155 million to purchase land across greater Portland that will protect clean water and strengthen plant and wildlife habitat.
Gordon Creek runs for over a third of a mile through the property, heading into the rest of the natural area and then linking up with the Sandy River in Oxbow Regional Park. Gordon Creek, like many of the streams in the area, supports seagoing fish like salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey and eulochon, a small fish that is critical to healthy river ecosystems. Cutthroat trout are also in the creek.
Gordon Creek lies in a steep canyon and is surrounded by both young and old-growth forests. The Sandy River gorge, including Gordon Creek, is home to dozens of bird species, including great horned owls and screech owl. Douglas squirrels and northern flying squirrels live in tree-trunk nests. And the area supports big animals like black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, black bears and cougars.
Along with Gordon Creek, the property includes several springs and seasonal streams, as well as small wetlands.
Metro’s first task with the property is to remove invasive plant species that are common across the region. Crews will take out weeds like English holly, English ivy, blackberry and Scotch broom. After spending a few seasons getting to know the property better, Metro’s natural resource scientists will develop a plan to strengthen the natural area’s habitats.