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Toilet, shelter, come to Fernhill Wetlands

City of Forest Grove finishing construction of new facilities


New facilities are coming to Fernhill Wetlands, with construction on a new public toilet and shelter wrapping up.

The improvements, which are funded in part by $109,000 from an Oregon State Lottery grant, will return public, covered facilities to the popular nature reserve, located just south of Forest Grove on Fern Hill Road.

Work will likely continue on the restroom and shelter for another week or so. But it won't be the last of the changes coming to Fernhill Wetlands.

Cleanwater Services, which owns 748 acres encompassing the wetlands, is engaged in a habitat improvement project, planting 75,000 native trees now and planning for a much more extensive improvement of the area.

The restrooms and shelter are being built by the city of Forest Grove, which maintains the parking lot, trails and benches.

"The really interesting part is that the bathroom is going to be a net-zero solar facility, which means that it will be paying for all its energy needs with solar panels on the roof," said Peggy Day, who is helping Cleanwater Services with community outreach during the construction project. "It will be feeding its power right into the grid and running the meter backwards paying for itself."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for later this month.

Beyond that, Cleanwater Services plans to develop a project website, a detailed topographic study of the area, a groundwater monitoring program and, ultimately, build a new wetland and water treatment feature and improvements that will deliver reused water from Cleanwater Services' Rock Creek Facility.

The master plan for the wetlands project extends to 2017, with plans to expand agricultural irrigation at the wetlands.