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Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact FriendsOfRiverViewNaturalArea@gmail.com if your question is not answered here, or to suggest additional entries.
Q: How does one find out about work sessions in the River View Natural Area?

A: There is an annual annual 'No Ivy Day' in October, and other opportunities to help.. Contact Mary Verilli, Stewardship Coordinator, at Portland Parks & Recreation. Ask to be put on the list to be notified: 503-823-9423 or Mary.Verrilli@PortlandOregon.gov.

More information can be found on www.noivyleague.com.

Q: Who should I contact for safety, for reporting unusual wildlife sightings, or Use violations?

A: Here's who you can call or write:

  • 9-1-1: For crimes in progress.
  • 503-823-3333: Police non-emergency, takes calls about incidents that have passed.
  • 503-823-1637: Ranger call center, responds to serious stuff that you may observe, (eg illegal camping and other park violations). FoRVNA reports disturbances to the natural area this way.
  • Park Scan PDX . org allows community members to submit Observations on line (eg trash, maintenance issues, graffiti). Observations can be tagged with a keyword, and the whole set of observations is searchable. Not for emergencies! We'd also like to see your Observations or feedback: FriendsOfRiverViewNaturalArea@gmail.com.
  • 503-823-PLAY: Parks triage, answers general questions about Portland's parks.
  • Where should we report nature sightings? Please provide an answer, for here.
  • E-mail: [Parks Rangers]. You should rcv an auto-reply similar to this:

    Thank you for your email to the Portland Parks & Recreation Security Office. All emails related to violations of Title 20, please go to [LINK]. and they will be prioritized and responded to as soon as possible. We will endeavor to reply to violations reported in Washington Park, Central Business District and Forest Park within 24 hours. If you are reporting campsites on city owned property, please use the form found here: [FORM]

Please note that at this time there is no budget for ranger coverage for RVNA. This may be addressed in the the Parks budget sometime after RVNA management plan is officially adopted by the city. (It passed 1/15/2016.)

Q: Have you thought of forming a Foot Patrol?

A: Yes. Here are the city's Community Foot Patrol guidelines [LINK].

Here is what we have so far... [LINK].

Q: Who owns River View Natural Area?

A: RVNA Purchase price was $11,250,000. Funds came from:

  • Bureau of Environmental Services: $6,000,000 Grey-to-Green initiative to sewer system operating fund (53.33%)
  • Parks bureau from the city's local share of the Natural Areas Bond Measure: $2,500,000 (22.22%)
  • Metro's purchase of a Conservation Easement: $2,250,000 (20%)
  • Park Bureau's System Development Charge Funds: $250,000 (2.22%)
  • The Trust for Public Lands: $250,000 (2.22%)
The above suggests that the majority stakeholders are BES ratepayers.

For legal purposes, PP&R and BES jointly own the natural area, and are listed on the DEED which is filed in Multnomah County (source here soon). Metro holds a conservation easement on the property which restricts buildings, paving, with the purpose of recreation, but subject to protection of streams, and so on.

River View Cemetery may have contributed some portion of the land. [Note here soon.]

Q: What makes RVNA different from a park?

A: Section 3(b) of the 2011 Conservation Easement Agreement [2011 CEA] refers, in part, to environmental education and research. According to the USDA Forest Service, Research Natural Areas [RNAs] are part of a nationwide network of ecological areas set aside for both research and education.

  • The network includes areas managed by many Federal agencies to typify certain types of forest, shrubland, grassland, aquatic, geological, alpine or similar environments that have unique characteristics of scientific interest.
  • RNAs are protected against human activities that directly or indirectly modify their ecological integrity: they may serve as controls for manipulative research elsewhere.
  • These areas contain important ecological and scientific values and are managed for minimum human disturbance.

RVNA is a part of this larger program. Section 2(b) of the 2011 CEA clearly outlines the typification described above by the USDA. As well, section 3(b) is specific about the types of permitted recreation allowed. In sum, the number one priority of the easement agreement is for the preservation, protection, and enhancement of this area in relation to the conservation values set forth.

Q: What is so special about an Interior Forest Habitat?

A: In Wild in the City, on page 14, it says: A continuous forest canopy means there are naturally large areas of interior forest, that is, environments dominated by shade/speckled light sunlight, cooler temperatures, reduced wind, and more moist conditions. By contrast, the discontinuous nature of the urban canopy provides more sunlight and air movement, creating a habitat the tends to be warmer, breezier, and drier. Urban forests tend to be near open areas, creating more edge and less interior forest. Wildlife preferring an open, edge-like woodland, consisting of a simple structure of canopy and ground cover and having generally widely-spaced trees, will be favored. Thus, the reduced density of trees in the urban forest means some species lack critical habitat and are excluded from the urban forest. Others, preferring edge habitat will increase in number. (See our Library). (Help shorten this answer.)

Q: What is Portland's Emerald Compass? Is it like Boston's Emerald Necklace?

A: Like Boston's Emerald Necklace, designed by his stepfather Frederick Law Olmsted, John Olmsted's proposed park system — elongated and connected — would provide a greenbelt nearly across and around the city. He left it to the people of Portland — and their Park Board, staff, and city council — to make the plan real. See [Olmsted Portland Park Plan].

Q: Are the small streams in RVNA significant in the grand scheme of things?

A: Simple answer: Yes.

Typically, 42″ of rain per year falls on River View Natural Area (RVNA)
RVNA measures approximately 147 acres.
Assume those 147 acres are all part of the watershed basins.
147 acres x 3.6' would be ~530 acre-feet of water, just over 23 million cubic feet of water per year. That would be a cube of water, 284' on each side.

This water has to go somewhere, but it does not all flow downhill!

  • some % falls on leaves and may evaporate back into air.
  • some % infiltrates soil and some seeps into the river below in a matter of days.
  • some % retained in soil like a sponge and will leach over time.
  • some % flows directly in streams.
  • some % soaks into ground to be taken up by plants and be transpirated as part of the vascular transport mechanism, and some will be torn apart by photosynthesis to form oxygen and carbohydrates.

These percentages depend on many factors, like the number of days since last rainfall, the temperature, humidity, and so on.

The evaporation of water keeps the forest and forest floor relatively cool (cooler than asphalt and concrete!) This has an important measurable effect in the Willamette; as fishermen know, fish linger in this stretch of the river. In contrast, water coming off the urban cityscape is much warmer, and engineering is ongoing to mediate that effect.

Q: Why should mountain bikers be excluded from using the trails in RVNA?

A1: The current plan shows hiking trails that would be open to all humans. The upper loop will be smaller and gentler. The Interior Forest feature dictates a perimeter trail, and trail standards have determined the initial layout of that trail. Unfortunately, this results in a trail which would not be fun for bikers, and will likely never be a fun mixed use trail. No one is excluded personally, only machines are. This presumably also excludes wheelchairs, which typically don't go on 10% grade dirt trails anyway. So, for River View, the combination of its small area and steep slopes seems to make the mountain biking incompatible with this small natural area.

A2: The problem is about more than trail erosion or lack of erosion or water quality, it's the activity itself — quickly moving vehicles and sounds in the environment. The natural area is to be managed for minimum human disturbance. Mountain biking does not fall into that category. See the Leave No Trace principle, Respect Wildlife. [LINK]

Q: Why do many nature conservancy organizations oppose mountain bikes in protected wilderness areas?

A: The Sierra Club has published its concerns about MTB impacts in a document developed in dialogue with the International Mountain Bicycling Association which reaffirms its support for the Wilderness Act's prohibition of 'mechanized modes of transport', including non-motorized vehicles, from entry into designated wilderness.

Further, The Sierra Club is concerned about the effects of use of bicycles off-road. Concerns have been raised about effects such as soil erosion, impacts on plants and animals, displacement of other trail users, and impacts on other users' safety and enjoyment. These concerns argue for special regulation, with effective enforcement, of off-road bicycling.

See complete policy statement at: [LINK].