Metro is under pressure from Portland environmental groups and Hillsboro residents to protect wildlife and sensitive wetlands habitat when a major water pipeline is slashed through Orenco Woods Nature Park next year.
“Is this what voters expected when they approved Metro’s bond measures to buy more natural areas to protect water quality and wildlife habitat in the tri-county area?” asked Hillsboro resident Sheila Christensen. “Will Metro fight to protect lands purchased for conservation purposes? Can Metro be trusted to protect our taxpayer funded public lands? You can see the huge construction equipment and deep ditches currently being used to install the 66-inch pipeline in Beaverton. I cringe to think of the threat to wildlife in the nature park.”
The proposed construction would require the removal of trees and underbrush in the park, in addition to temporarily diverting Rock Creek. Portland Audubon and Urban Greenspaces Institute are urging Metro to ensure that the resulting damage will be offset to protect the nature park, a vital part of the Rock Creek wetlands habitat.
“We call on Metro to require compensatory mitigation that reflects the significance of the sensitive natural resources impacted by this construction,” said Mike Houck of Urban Greenspaces Institute. Bob Sallinger of Portland Audubon agreed with that assessment.
Residents also are urging Metro to require a temporary wildlife corridor during construction so that animals can move safely and not stray onto the busy Cornelius Pass highway. “Metro has made it a top priority to buy and protect sensitive habitat, including Orenco Woods Nature Park,” said long-time Hillsboro resident Catherine Allan. “The pipeline construction could destroy the protective measures Metro put in place when developing the park. Deer and other animals regularly use that pass-through into the park to travel through the fields and undeveloped land north of the park.”
The cities of Hillsboro and Beaverton are partnering with the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD) to build the $1.3 billion Willamette Water Supply System (WWSS) to meet future water needs for the fast growing Hillsboro and Beaverton areas. Water will be drawn from the Willamette River and delivered through more than 30 miles of large-diameter pipeline traveling north from Wilsonville through Beaverton and into Hillsboro.
Located at 7100 NE Birch St in Hillsboro, Orenco Woods Nature Park is a diverse 42-acre parcel that includes part of the Rock Creek Trail. The seasonal wetlands and upland forests host a rich variety of native plants and attract deer, coyote, and raccoons, as well as many woodland and meadow birds.
Please contact Metro officials Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Blasher now to urge them to protect Orenco Woods Nature Park and its significant natural resources.