Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

Your Guide
Mike Faha, ASLA

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a 140-acre city park in southeast Portland. Located along the east bank of the Willamette River, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is the largest remaining part of the floodplain.

Part of the park is built on a former sanitation landfill that holds 400,000 cubic feet of construction waste beneath the soil. In 1969, the city government acquired the landfill from the Donald M. Drake Company 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. In 1988, the park was named Portland's first wildlife refuge. In 2004, it was designated the city's first migratory bird park. Mike Houck, ASLA, executive director, Urban Greenspaces Institute, created the vision of the park and was instrumental in making it a wildlife refuge.
More than 185 bird species have been recorded in the refuge, including hawks, falcons, egrets, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, quail, pintails, mallards, coots, woodpeckers, kestrels, and widgeons.

The Friends of Oaks Bottom is a volunteer organization that works in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation to promote, preserve, and manage Oaks Bottom. The Friends help restore habitat, maintain the trails, and provide guided hikes.

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