Metro opens public park at Killin Wetlands

Banks – The Killin Wetlands Nature Park, a body of water and natural area located largely between Highway 6 and Cedar Canyon Road outside of Banks opened to the public on Saturday, September 22.

With dignitaries from Metro, the Audubon Society of Portland, Centro Cultural, and local residents, birding enthusiasts, and more present, the new parking lot was a full one at Killin Wetlands.

Kathryn Harrington, Metro Councilor District 4, cuts the ribbon at Killin Wetlands with the assistance of children from the audience, Metro employees, and volunteer Sherie Salzwedel from the Audubon Society of Portland with rescued raven Aristophenes.
Chas Hundley//Banks Post

“I am just bursting with joy,” said Kathryn Harrington, Metro Councilor for District 4, which includes Cornelius, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, portions of Beaverton, and several urban unincorporated communities in Washington County.

Harrington gave a short speech to the assembled audience before inviting all the children in attendance to help her cut a ceremonial ribbon with an oversize pair of scissors.

Harrington, who is running for the Washington County Board of Killin Wetlands continued from page 1
Commissioners Chair position against current Washington County District 4 Commissioner Bob Terry, has been a champion of the project, including speaking to the Gales Creek, Verboort and Roy Community Participation Organization about the Metro-owned property.

In addition to Harrington, her soon-to-be replacement councilor-elect Juan Carlos Gonzalez was in attendance as well. Slated  to be sworn into his Metro seat in January of 2019, he plans to maintain his work at Centro Cultural de Washington County, a nonprofit located in Cornelius whose vision, according to their website, is to serve “Latino families with an ever-growing range of programs designed to create self-sufficient, engaged, and active citizens.
In recent years, Centro Cultural has partnered with Metro on several projects, including the Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, a 1230-acre plot of land owned by Metro between Forest Grove and Gaston.

Juan Carlos Gonzales, Metro District 4 councilor-elect. Chas Hundley//Banks Post

Killin Wetlands is 590 acres, most of which is covered in wetlands year-round, with dozens of animal and plant species making their home in what Metro officials have described as a rare type of habitat – a peat wetland – in Oregon.

According to the Killin Wetlands Access Master Plan, a document prepared for Metro by Nevue Ngan Associates, Killin Wetlands “remains the best example of a peat wetland in the Willamette Valley. ”

Sensitive and notable species, including the geyer willow, the northern red-legged frog, willow flycatcher, and more make their home in this wetlands, alongside more common species, including elk, deer, cutthroat trout, and more.

The new park, on a site long popular with birders who set up scopes alongside Highway 6 and on Cedar Canyon Road, is designed to allow nature enthusiasts to set up in a more controlled environment – a necessity, say Metro officials, to reducing conflict between motorists and birders.

“It was becoming unsafe with all the enthusiasm of people parking on the roads,” said Harrington during her speech, referring to birders with spotting scopes who have long used the area to spot the many bird species that use the Killin Wetlands.

Metro purchased the property, located miles outside of their boundaries, with funds from the 1995 and 2006 natural areas bond measures passed by Portland-area voters who reside within Metro boundaries.

A view of the Killin Wetlands. Chas Hundley//Banks Post