Two local projects gain funding

The Metro Council on Thursday, May 30, awarded nearly $1.2 million in community grants to help nature thrive across the Portland metropolitan area, including two in East Multnomah County.

Representing two Nature in Neighborhoods grant programs, the grants recognize innovative, community-driven ways to protect and improve natural resources.

The Metro Council accepted the recommendations of grant review committees, which evaluated applications and visited proposed project sites.

Nature in Neighborhoods capital grants funded about $970,000 for four projects: protecting the last missing piece of the White Oak Savanna in West Linn, restoring habitat along Rock Creek near the Clackamas River, as well as making improvements at April Hill Park in Southwest Portland and Spring Park in Milwaukie.

Grants support projects that either purchase land or improve public property.

This latest round of grant funding brings Metro to the halfway mark of investing $15 million from a voter-approved 2006 natural areas bond measure.

The second category, Nature in Neighborhoods restoration and enhancement grants, provided about $206,000 to nine projects.

Local projects to receive funding include those focusing on Johnson Creek and the Sandy River.

This restoration and enhancement grant program will grow with funding from a local option levy approved by voters May 21 to protect natural areas and regional parks. New guidelines will be developed this summer for the next round of grants.

"Thank you to the voters in this region that voted yes for this," said Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick, who represents East Multnomah County on the metro council. "This is really an exciting time."

Metro awarded the Johnson Creek Watershed Council $25,000 for reforestation of the Johnson Creek riparian to help native plants thrive on 20 high-priority sites to protect past investments and stay on track for restoration goals. The project will provide tree cover along more than two miles of Johnson Creek and its tributary streams, covering a total of 20 acres. Activities include planting 10,000 new plants, removing invasive species, and seeding and mulching plantings. The work enhances partnerships with public and private landowners, providing on-the-ground assistance. Partners include the City of Gresham, the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks & Recreation, Multnomah Youth Cooperative and private landowners.

The city of Troutdale also received $15,000 for its Sandy River Access Plan to identify the best solutions for community access and trail design along part of the lower Sandy River in downtown Troutdale. The goal is to allow people to enjoy the Sandy River for angling and other recreational activities, while restoring and safeguarding riparian habitat along one-third mile of riverfront. A platform accessible to those with disabilities is included in preliminary designs. The trail project will complete a section of the 40-Mile Loop, connecting Troutdale residents to trails along the Columbia River and creating a new riverfront destination for regional trail users.

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