Section of Springwater Corridor to close for restoration project at Oaks Bottom


A section of the Springwater Corridor Trail will be closed this summer while the city works to restore habitat at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

Starting July 1, a half mile stretch of the Springwater Corridor will be closed to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to restore salmon and other wildlife to the refuge.

Under the water there is a small five feet wide culvert that extends from the Willamette River to the refuge. While the culvert is for juvenile salmon, fish biologists say it's too small and the fish are not using it.

The Army Corps will put in a culvert three times the current size, but engineers will have to cut through the berm to do so.

"Too little attention has been paid until now to the aquatic environment," said urban naturalist, Mike Houck. "The whole objective to this project is to improve habitat for fish and for wildlife."

There are also plans to plant about 8,500 bushes and wetland trees in the refuge to make it more attractive to bald eagles, otters and other species. Native plants will be encouraged and invasive species will be ripped out.

The groups also plan to build viewing platforms.

For bicyclists and pedestrians, the Springwater Corridor along the wildlife refuge will be off limits for four months.

The city says there are alternative routes they can use, but it will be especially hard on the thousands who bike-commute everyday on the corridor. And those who walk or run or bird-watch, won't be able to do so this summer.

"To me, this is like well overdue and our taxpaying money going to something we can all enjoy," said Pamela Gorder.

The restoration project will begin July 1 and is scheduled to end on Oct. 31. The time period is mandated by the state to minimize the impacts to the federally protected salmon.

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