Metro expands habitat protection at Canemah Bluff, Columbia Slough, Johnson Creek natural areas
Metro's voter-approved Natural Areas Program finished June by purchasing a trio of new properties: one in the Canemah Bluff area towering over Oregon City, another along the Columbia Slough in Northeast Portland and the third along Johnson Creek near Gresham.
Voters across the region made the acquisitions possible by approving a 2006 bond measure designed to protect water quality and wildlife habitat and give people opportunities to enjoy nature. Continuing the work of a previous bond measure, the region has now protected more than 12,000 acres – the equivalent of two-and-a-half Forest Parks.
The three new additions continue building natural areas where Metro has made long-term investments:
- A 30-acre property brings Metro’s Canemah Bluff Natural Area to a total of more than 300 acres. Visitors can explore trails in a 120-acre northern section of the natural area next to Oregon City’s Canemah Neighborhood Children’s Park, experiencing wildflowers and wildlife in a variety of habitats. The expansion adds to a separate, southern section, which now stands at more than 190 acres – and could be incorporated into the public natural area in the future. The new property features small patches of wetland and a forest with Douglas fir, big-leaf maple, red alder, Western hemlock, Western red cedar, grand fir and Oregon white oak trees.
- Metro teamed up with the City of Portland to protect 24 acres along the Columbia Slough, a 19-mile remnant of lakes, wetlands and slow-moving channels in the Columbia River’s southern floodplain. Just south of Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Northeast Portland, the new natural area was historically a wetland – and, with restoration, can do more to support clean water in the slough and healthy habitat for the wildlife that thrive here. Metro provided one-third of the purchase price; the city provided one-third with its “Grey to Green” program and one-third with its share of Metro’s 2006 natural areas bond measure, which included funds for local communities to invest in nature close to home.
- By protecting a five-acre property along Johnson Creek near Gresham, Metro secured a missing piece for a 40-acre expanse of protected land. Nestled west of Telford Road along a 430-foot stretch of the creek, the new addition will advance Metro’s work to restore stream banks and riparian forests in the area, improving water quality for native fish such as threatened salmon species. Johnson Creek flows 26 miles from its headwaters near the Sandy River to its confluence with the Willamette River, passing through Gresham, Portland, Milwaukie and Happy Valley along the way. Metro’s natural areas along the creek provide a scenic backdrop for walkers, runners and bicyclists on the Springwater Corridor trail.