Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District recently purchased a 319-acre forest parcel near Estacada, Oregon for the Eagle Creek Community Forest. I assisted the District in preparing the purchase agreement; reviewing the condition of title, conducting other property due diligence; and preparing the closing documents. The property, adjacent to Eagle Fern Park in Clackamas County, will provide the community with additional recreational activities, in addition to generating revenue from occasional timber harvests and improving habitat for fish and wildlife along several salmon-bearing streams. The District acquired the property in part with grant funds from the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program. This acquisition connects over 1,000 acres of public and conserved lands.
In January 2019, Wallowa Land Trust accepted and recorded a donation of a working lands conservation easement on private property to permanently protect 175 acres of the scenic East Moraine of Wallowa Lake. I represented the landowner in preparing the conservation easement that voluntarily extinguished rights to future development and sub-division, while reserving historic rights of use such as for recreation, hunting, grazing, and farming. A portion of the property contains native bunchgrass prairie, which is given special consideration under the easement. The property encompasses two lateral moraines and rises to the crest of the East Moraine at its westernmost boundary. There it abuts another conservation easement Wallowa Land Trust secured in 2017. The land trust’s larger aim is to conserve 2,500 acres across Wallowa Lake’s East and Terminal Moraines.
I recently assisted a neighborhood group, Friends of Overlook Bluff, in protecting a majestic and unique Oregon white oak in the Overlook neighborhood of Portland. The oak tree, a city-designated Heritage Tree, was imperiled by a proposed 6-lot subdivision plan, which Friends of Overlook Bluff opposed at a City of Portland land use hearing in July 2018. Along with Friends of Overlook Bluff, and other concerned citizens, I was successful in convincing the hearings officer to deny the development application on the basis that the development plan as proposed failed to adequately protect the Heritage Tree under the requirements of the city code. See the story on KGW-8 news here.
West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District has reopened tidal flow between Dairy Creek and the Columbia River. My involvement in representing the District in this decades-long project began in 2013 and has involved working with multiple parties, partners and jurisdictions. Legal work for the project has involved preparing a variety of easements and other agreements with private and public land owners needed to secure the rights for the District and its partners to complete the project, conducting property due diligence, and providing legal advice to the District during the course of the project. Sturgeon Lake is an important feature for both people and wildlife in the Lower Columbia River Estuary and restoring the tidal flows and wetland habitat will benefit juvenile salmon species, a variety of birds, native plants, and each winter an estimated 200,000 geese. A little more about my role is in the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District August 2018 newsletter.
I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed to the Metro Regional Government’s Natural Areas and Capital Program Performance Oversight Committee. The Committee provides independent citizen review for Metro’s Natural Areas Program as it buys land from willing sellers and supports projects to protect wildlife habitat, restore regional watersheds, and increase access to nature for those living in the Metro region. The Committee reviews the projects and acquisitions funded with taxpayer dollars to ensure the program is well-managed, staffed appropriately, utilizes effective tools and performance measures, and meets the bond’s defined goals. The responsibilities of the Committee have been recently expanded to include the oversight of the capital program for Metro’s 2018–2023 local option levy for parks and natural areas. Visit Metro’s website for more information.
My two and one-half years of involvement with Tillamook County’s Southern Flow Corridor Project successfully concluded in June, 2016. The project will mitigate flooding while providing for wetland restoration and fish habitat improvement. For more information on this multi-year project see how Oregon Solutions and US Fish and Wildlife are monitoring habitat and flooding in Tillamook.