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Metro seeks natural area ideas

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For three weeks in June, the Metro Council is offering a series of community open houses to gather public input about the agency's natural area bond measure program, approved by voters last fall.

Projects in and around the West Linn and Lake Oswego area will be the focus of a meeting next Monday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Athey Creek Middle School, 2900 Borland Road.

'The Natural Areas program will enhance our communities for years to come,' said Metro Councilor Brian Newman. 'Now that the voters have directed Metro to help ensure that clean water, healthy habitat and access to nature continue to be part of our heritage, we need them to help us decide where to focus our efforts for the best results.'

Areas to be discussed Monday are the Tryon Creek Linkages, Stafford Basin, Willamette Narrows and Canemah Bluff and Abernethy and Newell creeks.

Metro staff biologists and other experts will be on hand with maps and detailed information about the featured target areas. In addition, Newman will present a brief overview of the natural areas program at 6:30 p.m. and at 7:15 p.m. Attendees are invited to talk with Newman, provide input about the program's priorities and answer questionnaires.

Additionally, an online version of the open houses, where the public can view maps of the target areas and give feedback, is available at www.metro-region.org/naturalareas.

Voters authorized the $227.4 million bond measure last November. Since January, Metro has been collecting information from stakeholders and conducting research to refine priorities in 27 regional natural areas and trail corridors targeted for land purchase or conservation easements.

Several other natural areas in the region are also slated for protection. For a complete listing of the eight open houses and 27 target areas, visit Metro's Web site at www.metro-region.org/naturalareas and open the page titled 'Shape the nature of your neighborhood.'