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Metro is last hope to save park

My View • Roslyn Lake land fits mission of Measure 26-80

Recent media attention has focused on Portland General Electric's removal of the Marmot Dam to enhance and hopefully restore native salmon runs on the Sandy River.

But the sadness that lurks in the shadows of decommissioning the Bull Run hydropower station is the loss of a regional 186-acre park established by PGE, known as Roslyn Lake Park.

The lake spreads over 160 acres, with the remaining 26 acres established as a day-use park, open in the summer months. The lake itself is man-made, receiving water diverted from the Sandy and Little Sandy rivers carried through a flume (an elevated canal) for more than three miles to Roslyn.

The lake then serves as an elevated reservoir, providing necessary head pressure to the hydroturbines more than 300 feet below at PGE's Bull Run hydropower station.

Now historically significant, this system was designed and built in the early 1900s, with the park following later in 1957.

With knowledge of the impending closure of the hydropower station and all related PGE properties, including removal of the Marmot Dam, and the flume that feeds the lake, PGE attempted to give the Roslyn property to the local community in 1999 and 2000, including the city of Sandy and Clackamas County.

Unfortunately, at the time, no one was able to rise to the occasion. PGE now intends to sell the entire 186-acre site, most likely to developers.

I believe Roslyn Lake Park is both Metro's opportunity and responsibility. In 2006, tricounty voters passed Measure 26-80 to raise $227.4 million to buy, from willing sellers, regionally significant natural areas, parkland and trails throughout Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, to permanently protect for future generations.

To its credit, PGE has created a beautiful 26-acre day-use park, nestled in old-growth Douglas firs. But the remaining 160 acres have the potential to return to their original contours and to be used as Metro envisions.

The area is bordered by natural forest consisting of various species of fir, hemlock, maple, alder and wild cherry. This land has served as a protected habitat for many wildlife species, including songbirds, owls, eagles, hawks, rabbits, raccoons, bobcats and deer.

Roslyn Lake Park is seven miles north of the city of Sandy, four miles from Dodge Park (which is owned and operated by the Portland Water Bureau) and approximately a half-mile up from the Bull Run River, in the Bull Run Watershed.

The proximity to adjacent natural areas meets the criteria of Measure 26-80 and assures another key parcel of land may be saved for future green space.

If you haven't visited the Roslyn Lake area, I encourage you to do so. Then think whether this site, which has served the public for more than 50 years, might be significant in another 50 years.

Then call Metro, 503-797-1540. Help prevent an already established reprieve from becoming yet another development and loss to our natural history.

Erin Janssens lives in Corbett.