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A History of River View Natural Area

1882
River View Cemetery formed. See history on the cemetery's website. [LINK]

146 acres of the original plat were left undeveloped, reserved for expansion. While the cemetery was being 'populated', the reserved land was posted No Trespassing. The reserve land was zoned exclusively for cemetery use. The property could be re-zoned only by an act of the Oregon State legislature or State-level administrative procedure (which?)

1880's
Logged. All the old Cedars? What species?

1950's
Logged. Were any ancient trees cut in the 1950's that weren't cut before?

The Cemetery put up No Trespassing signs, only to have them torn down, vandalized or stolen. There were unchecked uses: impromptu foot trails (using the logging roads), illegal camping and dumping, etc. RVC did not have resources to police (or maintain) the forested area. This explains how the land remained dormant and mostly neglected for most of the 20th century.

1985? → present
Palatine Hill Road along the cemetery property was posted No Parking because off-campus college (and/or) law school students were parking there in order to avoid obtaining parking permits from campus security. There is no shoulder for parking.

1990's (?)
Mountain Biking trails and jumps of various kinds appeared. The cemetery routinely went in with a backhoe to knock down bicycle jumps and forts that the trespassers would routinely re-build on the property.

1992
Southwest Hills Resource Protection Plan - Inventory, Analysis And Regulations for the Protection of Wetlands, Water Bodies, Fish and Wildlife Habitats, Open Space and Natural Areas. Gretchen Kafoury, Commissioner-In-Charge.

1995 and again in 2006...
Metro Open Space Bond Measures passed by voters.

08/07/2007
Burials Are Out, So Cemetery Hopes It Can Cash In by Anna Griffin. Examines the trend toward cremation rather than burial, and the impact on grave site sales. Only selling about 200 graves / year. The available reserve was enough for 400 years, so the RVC board started looking for ways to build their maintenance endowment. (i.e. sell or lease the reserved land.)

2006 → 2007
River View Cemetery filed a Measure 37 claim for $24 million compensation, in lieu of developing (N=?) residential lots on 184 acres. See wikipedia page on River View Cemetery . (The 184 acre figure came from Wikipedia.)

2008
Riverdale High School or L&C submitted a plan to develop student housing on the property. Need Land Use application data.

2009 (?)
Lewis & Clark College considered siting soccer fields on the property.

2010
Riverview Subwatershed Improvement Strategies Report, by Portland Parks department.

05/02/2011
City to purchase River View forest. Portland Parks & Recreation, Environmental Services and Metro partner to acquire River View forest in southwest Portland. Essential reading! [LINK].

Here a short article on The Intertwine website about the acquisition: [INTERTWINE]

mm/dd/yyyy (?)
Land is (re)zoned to Open Space & Conservation (environmental protection and conservation). [Some details to add here. Have a good explanation from David Noble @ RV Cemetery. jm 6/4/15]


07/2011
The City of Portland, in partnership with Metro and 'Trust for Public Land', acquired the property. It was one of the largest single natural area acquisitions in the City's history.

Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) jointly own the natural area (deed recorded in Multnomah County). Metro holds a conservation easement on the property which restricts buildings, paving, with the purpose of recreation, but subject to protection of streams. See our FAQ for dollar amounts.

Funds to purchase RVNA came from:

  • Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)
  • Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) per Water quality / endangered species of Lower Columbia)
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Metro. Metro's Open Space Bond Measure identified RVNA as priority.
  • River View Cemetery (contribution)

Various restoration and management projects were assigned to Portland Parks department.


05/12/2012
How does a forest recover? Lewis & Clark study of River View Natural Area may yield answers. This article appeared on Oregon Live, describes ivy removal.

2013 → 2015 (?)
Mountain bikers parked their cars, vans, and buses along both sides of neighborhood streets, impeding the flow of local traffic, passage of fire engines, and so on. Professional bikers and at least one bike shop promoted use of the area in on line forums.

10/08/2013
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #2 Notes

10/25/2013
River View Natural Area - Relevant Information / Site Tour Summary Technical Memo

01/22/2014
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #3 Notes

03/02/2015
Fritz/Fish letter declares that mountain biking will no longer be an allowed use:

Exercising an abundance of caution and to protect the City's investment in the River View Natural Area, PP&R and BES will be limiting activities at RVNA from now on to passive nature-based recreational uses — hiking, wildlife viewing, stewardship, education, research, etc. [PDF].

03/16/2015
Mountain biking ban placed in effect. There were reports that some bikers continued to use the area. The only sign is a memo attached to the signage at the trailhead hub area off SW Brugger. A similar sign at the bottom of the trails, on SW Macadam / Hwy 43, has gone missing.

04/01/2015
The Collins View Neighborhood Association discussed and passed a motion endorsing the prohibition, and supporting the development of a region-wide master plan for urban mountain biking facilities as funds, resources and revenues permit. Days later, letters were sent to Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, and Mayor Hales.

04/08/2015
Project Advisory Meeting (#4) at The Watershed in Hillsdale. Agenda Packet (PDF).

04/21/2015
Friends met to compose this Earth Day proclamation:

Make Earth Day Every Day - Respect and Protect River View Natural Area

Interior Forest Habitat: The decision by the city of Portland to restore, preserve and protect the interior forest habitat, the wetlands and seven streams at the core of River View Natural Area (RVNA) is both applauded and supported by Collins View residents concerned about nature conservancy. We feel restricting access to this anchor habitat protects critical natural resources such as water quality, wildlife and native plant populations. It also upholds the original intent of the 2011 Conservation Easement Agreement, the City of Portland's Terrestrial Ecology Enhancement Strategy (June 28, 2011) and the Natural Area Restoration Plan (updated March 2015) to restore and connect high value habitats.

Park Access: The plan to create low impact pedestrian trails along the entire outer perimeter of RVNA and around the upper level in two loop-and-switchback formations is well received and enjoys our support. This plan adheres to local and federal trail standards for natural area protection. It will create more opportunities to educate our children and the general public of the importance of nature preservation.

City Wide Off Road Bicycle Plan: We support funding of the City Wide Off Road Bicycle Plan that will identify appropriate places for mountain biking while protecting the environment from negative impacts.

04/22/2015
Letters with the proclamation were delivered to City Hall offices.

04/24/2015
Friends of River View Natural Area web site, RiverViewFriends.org, launched.

1/14/2016
The RVNA Management Plan was adopted by the Portland City Council. Here's the video of the council hearing: [VIDEO] (2 hrs 43 min)

The Management Plan is on the Parks and Recreation website [RVNAMP].
Here's the summary of the final Project Advisory Committee meeting [NOTES]

Some projects are ongoing. We are waiting for funding for the Management Plan, Parks Rangers, etc.