by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Positioned in Crystal Springs Creek, at the north end of the Westmoreland Duck Pond, a claw excavator breaks and removes the first segments of ponds concrete rim.Crystal Springs Restoration and Duck Pond Removal, a project identified by the community and adopted by Portland City Council in 2004 as part of the Westmoreland Park Master Plan, got underway in earnest on July 15.

“Work activities have really ramped up, with the beginning of the ‘in-water work’ period this summer, that ends on August 31st,” said City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Environmental Coordinator Ronda Fast.

At the north end of the park, two large excavators roared, as the scoops dug into the edges of the Westmoreland Duck Pond, when THE BEE visited the work area.

“Part of restoring Crystal Springs Creek here in the park means transforming the duck pond into a wetland area,” Fast explained. “To start, contractors are breaking up all the concrete banks around the perimeter of the pond. We are actually recycling the concrete that’s being removed.”

Workers were busy, filling the sandbags that will be use to divert the creek.

“Before the stream is diverted, native fish in the project area will be caught and relocated downstream. Non-native fish will be euthanized,” said Fast. (An effort was made to save native mussels growing in the pond, too, as reported in a separate story in this issue of THE BEE.)

They'll be diverting the creek in two segments, Fast said. In the north end of the pond, workers will create a channel using Jersey barriers lined with plastic, which will follow the east bank of the pond.

Near the middle and down toward the southern end, crews will install a diversion pipe. “They’ll have pumps running, around-the-clock, to keep the channel in the pipe,” Fast pointed out. “The terrain is so flat, there’s just not enough slope of for gravity to do the work.”

A substantial pile of logs and stumps were gathered in the northwest area of the park. “They’ve been removed from the site as part of a project to make way for the new channel and wetlands. They will be used to slow the creek, and will be installed along the creek banks to provide habitat,” Fast commented.

By the first of August, a new basketball court was expected to be open. The remaining play equipment on the east side of the north-south path will be removed in late August, when construction of the new “Nature Based Play Area” is expected to begin.

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