Metro Creates New, 92-Acre Natural Area East of Oregon City

Metro has created a new natural area with the acquisition of 92.38 acres of largely undeveloped land in the Upper Holcomb Creek area of unincorporated Clackamas County, which lies east of Oregon City and west of Happy Valley.

The purchase was made possible through funding from a voter-approved 2019 parks and nature bond measure.

In a memorandum sent to Metro Council, Metro conservation program director Dan Moeller wrote that this acquisition was significant not just for its size, but because of its diverse range of habitats and its location in an area that so far has seen little investment in conservation.

“This is a new focus area for Metro in the 2019 bond measure, and with this property as a meaningful starting point, additional conservation investment around it can create a large, regionally significant anchor for the conservation of priority habitat types and their associated species,” Moeller wrote.

Metro officially took possession of the parcel on January 26, paving the way for Metro staff to begin planning for the site’s restoration. The plan will include removing some existing structures, replacing invasive weeds with native plants, and improving habitat complexity.

The property will allow Metro to take a large step forward in its goal of improving regional water quality, officials said, because it contains more than 3,000 feet of seasonal headwater streams that feed into Upper Holcomb Creek, which in turn feeds Newell and Abernethy creeks.

Protecting these streams can also help mitigate flooding risks and enhance climate resilience in the watershed.

The property contains a wide variety of habitats, including oak savanna, woodland and prairie, and could serve as a habitat for many kinds of native plants and wildlife.

It is also home to a significant amount of Oregon white oak, a native tree that can provide habitat for many regionally declining species as well as sustenance for mammals like deer and elk.

This is the 12th land acquisition purchased with funding from the 2019 parks and nature bond, creating a total of 478 acres acquired across nine target areas identified by the bond and its refinement plan.

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