THE VIEW FROM OAKS BOTTOM - with Portland Parks & Recreation Ecologist Mark Wilson
The city of Portland is noted for its proximity to outstanding natural areas—Mt. Hood, the Columbia Gorge, Oregon's North Coast. But Portland is also a great place to live because of the abundance of natural areas within the city itself. On this episode of Locus Focus we return to one of the city's nature jewels: Oaks Bottom, a 170-acre wildlife refuge complex of wetlands, meadows and woods, 4 miles SE of downtown Portland as the crow flies, and maybe a bit further if you're following the route of one of the bottoms' many Great Blue Herons. Why is Oaks Bottom such a treasure for Portland residents and what is being done to enhance its wildlife habitat? We'll hear from Portland Parks and Recreation ecologist Mark Wilson who returns to Locus Focus to tell us the latest nature news from Oaks Bottom and the adjoining Willamette River.
A LITTLE BIT OF OAKS BOTTOM HISTORY:
Oaks Bottom is a floodplain wetland located along the east bank of the Willamette River. The City of Portland acquired the landfill property from the Donald M. Drake Company at the beginning of 1969 to block its development as an industrial park. The area was believed, at the time, to be one of the few remaining marshland areas in Portland, and local residents were strongly opposed to its development as industrial property. The nine-acre south meadow is a former “construction debris landfill.” The former floodplain wetlands of the north meadow was originally slated for development and filled with clean fill from the excavation of the I405 freeway and US 26’s Vista Tunnel. Portland Parks &Recreation purchased the entire tract of land to link oak and riparian woodlands to the adjacent wetlands. The 26-acre North Meadow now shelters an amphibian habitat area. Portland Audubon, SMILE, PSU and ODF&W were instrumental in the saving of the 170 acres of Oaks Bottom and it was designated as Portland’s first wildlife refuge in 1988.