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Metzger man hopes to fix Ash Creek drainage

Gene Davis wants to link his property to Fanno Creek Trail


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Metzger resident Gene Davis plans to fix a heavily flooded part of Tigard near Tiedeman Avenue and North Dakota Street. Davis has a vision for a new trail system along Ash Creek and under Highway 217.In 2009, Gene Davis of Metzger was arrested after he took a backhoe onto private property he didn’t own and tried to do a little public maintenance.

Now, Davis is back. This time as the property owner.

Back then, Davis used the backhoe to replace a culvert along Ash Creek that he claimed was too small. Replacing the culvert would help with massive flooding in his neighborhood and all along the creek, he said.

The city replaced the culvert to its original size after Davis’ work. But Davis hasn’t forgotten about the property, and purchased it in July, saying he plans to try again, in an attempt to fix drainage in the area and start a local trail system.

But things have stalled again on the property, located on Southwest North Dakota Street near Tiedeman Avenue, after the city issued a stop work order on construction after Davis began installing another culvert in the area without the necessary permits from the city and Clean Water Services.

“Even though it is his property, these are sensitive wetlands,” said Albert Shield, a code enforcement officer with the city of Tigard. “Every code, whether it’s Clean Water Services, the city, the Army Corps of Engineers, the division of state lands, they all pay attention to sensitive wetlands. You are not supposed to start excavating without plans and specific approvals, none of which Dr. Davis had in this case.”

Davis, who owns several acres near Highway 217, said the former owners had received the go-ahead from the Division of State Lands to install a culvert when he purchased the property.

He has until Sept. 9 before the permit expires, but Shields said the project still has to be approved by the city and Clean Water Services.

Davis has lived in the area since 1966 and said he has always wanted to improve the city’s trail system.

Davis would like to see a trail system run along his property in Metzger and under Highway 217 to connect with the Fanno Creek Trail.

“It can’t function so long as Ash Creek is dammed up,” he said.

It’s a plan Davis has waited years for.

In 2011, Davis wrote a letter to the city asking for the plan to be placed on the city's priority list for upcoming projects. The city opted for another project, citing cost concerns.

Davis said he would donate the portion of his properties to the city for the trail, but it first needs to have proper drainage.

“I want a trail system that would really work,” Davis said. “This would connect Fanno Creek Trail at both ends.”

Davis said he purchased the property almost solely to fix the drainage problem.

“As long as the city backs up the water and effectively dams up the floodway, then we can’t have the trail system go underneath Highway 217 and have a five-mile loop,” he said. “And I really want that five-mile loop.”

The damming started, Davis believes, when the former owners installed a service road on the property, clogging Ash Creek so that it couldn’t flow into Fanno Creek properly.

For now, the culverts and the rest of the equipment are lying in wait until Davis gets the proper go-ahead.

“That would be the best trail system in Tigard,” Davis said. “It doesn’t cross many streets, and it is in natural and scenic areas. That’s my goal.”

Back at the city, Shields said sensitive wetlands take a precedent over the property owner’s wishes.

“We have an obligation to protect these lands, and the fish and wildlife that live in that area,” Shields said.

Davis and the city are currently in discussion to determine next steps.




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  • 19 Dec 2014

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  • 20 Dec 2014

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