Protecting and restoring land remains at the core of Metro’s parks and nature mission. Thanks to voters, Metro has been able to protect important areas of remaining native prairies, forests, wetlands and other valuable habitat — home to rare plants and endangered or threatened fish and wildlife. Other properties fill key gaps in regional trails, providing connections for bike commuters, hikers and joggers. Some natural areas, such as Chehalem Ridge and Newell Creek Canyon, became nature parks that provide growing communities with access to nature.
With direction from the 2019 parks and nature bond, that work is being done with greater input from community members. The bond provides up to $155 million for Metro to purchase natural areas from willing sellers and for large-scale restoration projects.
As staff developed an acquisition road map to guide future purchases, greater Portland’s Indigenous community provided foundational insights that shaped the plan. For instance, the road map places greater priority on cultural resources held in natural areas and looks for opportunities to restore streams diverted into pipes. The roadmap was adopted by the Metro Council in spring 2022.
Several high priority properties were purchased even as the roadmap was being developed, including 52 acres at Killin Wetlands Nature Park and 32 acres at the confluence of the Clackamas River and Deep Creek.
This program continues the work of the 2006 bond measure, which acquired and protected more than 6,876 acres – significantly surpassing the original goal of about 4,000 acres. Over the past fiscal year, Metro has added 240 acres to its portfolio of natural areas.
The bond measure’s local share program has also allowed cities, counties and parks providers throughout the region to acquire land so people can experience nature in their neighborhoods.
Conservation at the Clackamas confluence
High on a bluff overlooking the Clackamas River, just under 32 acres have been added to Metro’s Barton Natural Area, bringing the natural area to 127 acres in size. The $1.68 million 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.
The 31.8-acre is at the confluence of the Clackamas River and Deep Creek. The confluence area, fully within the Clackamas River Scenic Waterway, is located across the Clackamas River from Metro’s 195-acre North Logan Natural Area. Clackamas County’s Barton Park is just up the river, along with Metro’s River Island Natural Area.
The parcel, ringed in Douglas fir and western red cedar, includes more than a quarter mile of stream banks on Deep Creek as it spills into the Clackamas River and nearly a half mile along the Clackamas River on high bluffs.
This area is a rich and complex habitat for a host of aquatic species, including native fish like Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout that use Deep Creek as a tributary between the Cascades and the Clackamas River.
The site also contains a pond that is likely a habitat for western pond turtles, also known as Pacific pond turtles, an omnivorous species that can often be found basking in groups in areas with large logs and boulders. Nearby, a known turtle habitat and nesting area is already present.
From “Metro purchases 32 acres at Deep Creek, Clackamas River confluence”