OYC has been in a partnership agreement with the City of Portland through its Watershed Revegetation Program since 2000.
The removal of invasive plants and the revegetation of our uplands with native trees, shrubs, and ground covers has been a tremendous success. Our uplands are now revitalized, with immeasurable benefit not only to OYC members but also to the fish and wildlife that depend on the Willamette. As we are virtually surrounded by public green spaces (Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Ross Island Wildlife Area, The Springwater Corridor Trail, etc.), we can be proud of our value to this whole natural area complex, which is some of the highest quality Willamette river floodplain habitat left in the City of Portland.
The OYC Board and Stewardship Committee strongly supports the continued maintenance of our uplands through the 3rd WRP Maintenance Contract (January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020) for the reasons stated above. The Committee believes that maintenance of our Uplands should be regarded in the same light as maintenance of other OYC facilities and infrastructure.
During the initial 5 years of the Program, WRP planted and maintained over 13,010 trees and 8050 shrubs, including live stakes. In addition, natural plantings and seedlings were, and continue to be, released (free-to-grow) with the clearing of non-native species, notably Himalayan blackberry, Western white clematis, English ivy, reed Canary grass, Scot’s broom, nightshade, thistle and poison oak.
During the next 5 years, under the Maintenance Contract of 2005 – 2010, the parking lot berm to the right of the refuse recycling area and the section behind the recycling area were developed by WRP as was the river berm and bank adjacent to Oaks Park property. Diseased elms were removed from the latter area and all three areas were planted with an additional 420 trees and shrubs. A drip watering system and a bench were installed by OYC in these areas as well as the development of the Nature Trail, 2 additional benches, and 15 illustrative signs identifying the native plants with reference to Native American Indian and early pioneer usage, all developed by OYC members. During this period some of our “second-tier” invasives began to proliferate, notably white birch and weedy cherry, along with an unacceptable spread of poison oak. WRP removed these and, with no additional cost to OYC, replanted these areas with 47 native trees, including bitter cherry, cascara and Pacific madrone. They also identified and began monitoring and treating several new invasives to the Portland area and found in our uplands – garlic mustard and lesser calendine.
Costs to OYC
The costs of this partnership program are shared and are fixed as long as WRP can get funding. Some of their funding comes from sewer rates, but the bulk of it is derived from an arrangement between the City and the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality). The City has a loan from the DEQ. The DEQ specified that if the City would fund the WRP, then the DEQ would drop its interest rate from 4% to 2%. The OYC contract with WRP may be terminated at any time by either party upon 10 days written notice, as specified in the Contract.