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ZoomGrants Data

This page reflects the data entered into ZoomGrants™ on May 16, 2016.

Project Summary

Program Name

Setting the Forest Free in River View Natural Area

Amount Requested

$20,000. Estimated Match $20,000.

Applicant Information

First Name: John
Last Name: Miller
Phone: 503-555-1212
Email FriendsOfRiverViewNaturalArea@gmail.com

Pre-Application Questions

1. Project summary

Decommission legacy trails in the interior of RVNA per Management Plan. Remove man-made features, and mitigate erosion features. Erect split rail fences and signage at four closure points. Plant native species on the trails. Let the moles go to work.

2. Fiscal agent

Not applicable

3. Project partners

Collins View Neighborhood Association

4. Potential partners

Lewis & Clark College
River View Cemetery Association
West Willamette Restoration Partnership
West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

City Nature Stewardship program
Parks Rangers.

5. Project length

One year.

6. Habitat type(s)

(A 'radio' button on Form only allows ONE type.)

Upland conifer/deciduous forest: Enhancement projects implemented in forests outside the floodplain or riparian zone.

I chose Other, and filled in: Interior Forest Habitat

7. Acres

~92 acres will be restored and protected.

8. Location

RVNA is bordered by Collins View, Lewis & Clark College, River View Cemetery, and Powers Marine Park, home to federally-protected salmonid incubation zones. The disposition of matters in RVNA impacts State, Federal, and private citizen interests.

9. Social media

Facebook: Riverview Natural Area Conservation Project. We post positive images of RVNA. We remove nasty comments.

To learn about RVNA history and issues, visit riverviewfriends.org which also has a Library, and a link to the RVNA management plan.

10. Program narrative

Provide a narrative that describes the project. Explain why the project is important for your organization and community, such as how it fits your organization's strategic plan or mission.

River View Natural Area (RVNA) has been recently established as a recovering natural area.

Until 2011, the land was held by River View Cemetery for future use. Historically, it has been logged twice. In present times, however, the cemetery's management recognized that the trend toward cremation over burial left them with a four-century inventory. Therefore, in recent decades, other land uses were sought.

Five years ago River View agreed to sell the land to a consortium: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), Metro, Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R), and the Trust for Public Land. PP&R is the designated manager. BES and PP&R are the deed holders. Metro holds an environmental easement restricting development. After PP&R assumed land management, the steepest and most eroded trails were closed as part of a site stabilization effort. Old logging roads, random foot trails, and self-styled mountain bike trails cross streams 4, 5, & 6 in the natural area. Although the City prohibited all cycling in RVNA effective March 16, 2015, this activity continues.

The RVNA Management Plan was approved by Portland City Council on January 14th, 2016. This plan included a total ban on dogs. Bicycling remains 'interim prohibited'.

By definition, no trails can be built or maintained in the interior forest. (Any future trails are restricted to within 200' or 300' of RVNA's boundary.) Therefore, trails in the interior must eventually be removed in keeping with the conservation easement and in support of goals to allow this interior natural habitat to recover.

The old trails are addressed in the Environmental Prescriptions (APPENDIX B) in the Comprehensive Management Plan. Project #5 in this plan is 'ongoing'.

Stress/Gap: Habitat degradation from undesirable uses such as camping, parties, demand trails, and illegal trail building.

Measures of Success: Close illegal trails, remove camps and stop other non-compliant uses as resources are available.

Closing the trails to human use and abuse will allow the natural area and the community to breathe more freely. Our community has been under stress, embattled by those who place personal freedom above the right of nature to be free of us.

Decommissioning legacy trails (per RVNA Comprehensive Management Plan) could be relatively easy — close off the trails using split rail fences, and let moles go to work. Existing, unauthorized trail culverts and man-made features can easily be removed, and simple signage set in place where the old unmarked trails will be disappearing. Native species should be planted on bare trails. Deep erosion surely needs remediation on the fall-line (flow) trails. No new bridge would be necessary to close old trails. Trees fall on fences, requiring ad hoc maintenance by PP&R or a stewardship group.

$50,000 was estimated in RVNA Comprehensive Management Plan's budget for trail decommissioning (all trails). Our project, as currently envisioned, would need four split rail fences and four signs. Native plants would be needed, to be placed on the trails to facilitate restoration. Approximate cost: $10K.

Other costs would be minimal, such as disposal of materials used for existing man-made trail features (e.g culverts).

This is a job for the GRUNT - Greenspaces Restoration & Urban Naturalist Team, a PP&R program. Tasks are suitable for the Nature Day Camp and the Youth Conservation Crew. The NiN grant could underwrite GRUNT's work. Parks could assign some tasks to the stewardship group.

Since closure of these trails has been prescribed, and because this is a well-defined project, BES and PP&R should be able to give their permission. Given Metro's protective environmental easement on the property, the path to NiN funding seems promising.

No permit should be required to decommission the never-authorized legacy trails in the interior of RVNA.

Our post-closure map shows that the trails left unclosed emulate the planned perimeter trail — so the public can continue to access RVNA.

11. Goals

Describe how the program addresses the Nature in Neighborhood restoration grant's purpose, category and goals, including how the project supports regional and local initiatives.

The River View Natural Area (RVNA) is a steep 146 acre land area located within the City of Portland that was purchased by Bureau of Environmental Service's rate payers, Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) and Metro specifically as a watershed for the Willamette River and to protect water quality for endangered salmon, and to protect intact, undeveloped wildlife habitat.

The main goal for this Nature in the Neighborhood (NiN) Restoration Grant is to advance Project #5 in the Environmental Prescriptions in the RVNA Management Plan itself. That is, this NiN Restoration Grant will expand the conservation and protection of the steep interior forest habitat.

The restoration of the RVNA Interior Forest Habitat will directly benefit Portland citizens and visitors, privately owned River View Cemetery, Lewis & Clark College (including their Northwest School of Law), the Westside Wildlife Corridor, and Tryon Creek State Park. Importantly, the restoration will positively affect the Willamette River where the watershed's seven streams cool the river to protect areas at Powers Marine Park where federally protected salmonids incubate.

Our project proposes to close about half of the legacy trails located in the steep RVNA interior. These trails will never be part of the new perimeter trail contained in the RVNA Management Plan. In the years before a new perimeter trail can be completed, the remaining unclosed legacy trails would allow continued access loosely around the outer edge of RVNA's protected interior forest habitat. We do not propose closing all legacy trails in RVNA with this grant.

At the end of the project, at each point of closure, we imagine a new split rail fence and sign just behind it: Beyond this Sign Lives a Forest (or similar statement). This effort will advance the enclosure and preservation of the interior forest habitat to meet one of PP&R's RVNA Management Plan goals, i.e. to preserve the interior for wildlife habitat.

Eventually, the RVNA budget (or NiN) will give us the Management Plan's new perimeter trail, and the planned nature viewing platforms located at the edge of the Interior Forest Habitat. This will ensure Safe Access to RVNA for diverse groups of individuals to enjoy nature based activities as described in Metro's RVNA Conservation Agreement, meet BES Values and the goals laid out by PP&R for restoring the watershed.

Regionally, this year, Oregon lost significant Federal grant monies because Oregon has not decommissioned old logging roads where storm water runoff significantly impacts our coastal water quality. Oregon's failure to confront coastal pollution from logging, agriculture and other sources has cost the state $1.2 million in federal grant money. Federal regulators said Friday they will take the money from a roughly $4 million pot dedicated to addressing coastal pollution in Oregon because of what they consider an inadequate plan to control runoff that pollutes coastal waterways… The decision makes Oregon the first state to face penalties for failing to meet federal standards set in 1990. (The Oregonian, March 11, 2016.)

Several steep, old private logging roads from the 1950s continue to exist in RVNA. Storm water runoff from these roads dissipates RVNA's Oregon Jory soil, which washes down the old roads' steep inclines and disturbs tree roots, vegetation, and wildlife nesting habitat; finally, impacting the Willamette River at Powers Marine Park directly below.

We are optimistic that, if the goals for the restoration of the RVNA Interior Forest Habitat are met, it's possible that we may collectively enjoy Portland's RVNA watershed garden just as those who came long before us.

(Synchronistically, this initiative may jumpstart a Parks Partnership Group and a Parks Foot Patrol for RVNA.)

12. Organizational preparedness

Explain why your organization and partners have the experience and capacity to conduct the project, including identification of key personnel, their roles in the program and their qualifications.

The Friends of River View Natural Area (FoRVNA) is a core group of around ten people organized to Renew, Restore, and Conserve RVNA.

Originally, it was intended to be a stewardship group under contract with the city, but that program is being revisited city-wide. Proactively, the group has continued to advocate for RVNA, and has taken on a number of roles autonomously. FoRVNA functions only by consensus, which has served us very well.

Most of us have hiked in RVNA, pulled ivy, and reported issues. (So have others of course.) All of us have tracked the development of the RVNA Management Plan, attended PAC meetings, Open Houses, and some testified at the hearing.

We are anxiously waiting for this to all come together. We think a Nature in Neighborhoods Restoration Grant would stimulate all kinds of positive action, for example a 'Restore RVNA' stewardship group (working title), a bonafide foot patrol, and in general, getting more people involved in something with a defined outcome.

Our Active Team

John Miller, Retired
John is the team leader. John worked at Lewis & Clark College for 25 years as a computer scientist and system co-ordinator. John chaired the Collins View Neighborhood Association for eight years thru the late 80's early 90's.

Fran Laird, Retired
Fran is very active and knowledgable of Southwest Portland Parks programs and issues. Member, CVNA Network Emergency Team (NET)

Maryellen Read, Retired
Maryellen is concerned with social justice and equity issues. Member, CVNA NET

Brendan McGillicuddy, Quality Leader with Owens Corning
Brendan lives very near RVNA and is familiar with all of the trails, including game trails, and all the streams, outflows, point sources, flora, birds, and bees. Member, CVNA NET

Jim Diamond, Professor of Chemistry, Linfield College
Jim is the current chair of Collins View Neighborhood Association, and our resident scientist. He is an ardent advocate for reducing carbon emissions.

Our Advisors

FoRVNA friends advising in this grant are:

Torrey Lindbo - Watershed Manager for City of Gresham, and president of the Tryon Creek Watershed Council.

Hattie Mead - Greenwood Hills Cemetery Association, Concerned citizen.

Maureen Diamond - Oregon Health Sciences University, Concerned citizen.

Alexandra Clarke - Has led an athletic life as horsewoman, bicyclist, skier, squash player, swimmer, and fly fishing person. Alex enjoys gardening, and has given service in several Portland civic organizations.

Prakash Joshi - Past chair of CVNA and loyal Lewis & Clark College alum.

Denny Barnes - Retired U.S Diplomat, active in restoring Collins View's native conifer canopy through a small neighborhood grant.

While not active in FoRVNA, we rely on our expert land use advisors.
Dave & Dixie Johnston are the long-time Land Use chairs for the Collins View Neighborhood Association. They are completely familiar with the history of land use actions regarding the River View property. They are also well known for the stewardship efforts in the adjoining Tryon Creek State Natural Area. FoRVNA consults these two on legal issues, keeping us grounded.

13. Partnerships

Show how partnerships and collaboration with other individuals, organizations and groups in your community will be formed, strengthened and extended through this project.

FoRVNA is facilitating the formation of an independent foot patrol and a stewardship group. These two groups will help carry forward the program through regular surveillance for intrusions on the closed trails, and quarterly stewardship events, some of which may have to do with the closed trails.

'RestoreRVNA' (working title) will partner with City Nature. This stewardship group will bring in people with a passion for / connection with 'River View'. We hope that the Northwest Trails Alliance will promote this group with their members whose contribution to the restoration will discourage rogue mountain bikers from undoing the work. All would be welcome to help Restore RVNA.

The Foot Patrol would partner with Parks Rangers, Portland Police, or whatever agency Portland decides should deal with transients, who see the forest as a place to sleep, to toss their wrappers and cans, build a fire, and worse of all, use for a toilet.

FoRVNA hopes to partner with Lewis & Clark College to change the subculture there that has handed the trails and secret druid camps and party sites down through the generations of students. For the most part these are intelligent young adults who might carefully build and control a ceremonial fire, but River View has been an enchanted forest for them, and summers may dangerously dry that forest. Students may arrive at the college having heard stories of the epic mountain biking trails awaiting them. We need to be sure that no program at the college promotes the sport in RVNA.

RVNA is a natural asset to the college — a professor and her students do biological research there, and the college has a community service requirement that students can fulfill by working in the Natural Area! FoRVNA is not directly involved with the college programs, but we appreciate the results.

FoRVNA hopes to partner with River View Cemetery to delineate the boundary between the natural area and their remaining adjacent private property. Trail closures proposed with this grant are a detail to be worked out with the RVC director, David Noble, and PP&R.

FoRVNA will partner with Collins View - some in the neighborhood enjoy the forest in their back yard, but are stressed by their interactions with mountain bikers who for a few years increased in numbers. Some in the neighborhood have walked their dogs and left behind poop bags! Some neighbors have used RVNA as a convenient dumping ground for yard debris. At least one neighbor has drained untreated swimming pool water at the head of one of the streams. Collins View can do better.

As we submit this grant, a few mountain bikers continue to ply the trails of River View, some dog owners continue walk their dogs, and summer weather is calling vagrants back into their forest living room. City Nature does not have budget for rangers to cover River View, and we feel they could use some help moving this forward.

We can help do the right thing, through these partnerships.


These files are linked to as UPLOADS in the ZoomGrants application (system):
  • Trail Closure Plan [LINK]
  • River View Natural Area Access and Management Concept [LINK]