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Travel options

Map courtesy of City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Download HiRes.
Alternate routes shown on the map include: 
  • Westside option: The new Sellwood Bridge provides a connection to the newly paved Willamette Greenway Trail. Please note that the Greenway is popular with pedestrians. People on bicycles are advised to adjust their speed and expectations of travel time. 
  • Eastside option: The SE 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway connects to the SE 17th Avenue bike lane on the east side. This is a route that has been newly improved by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. 

In addition to those routes, many other options exist in the city’s extensive bicycle network.

Walking trails will remain open within the wildlife refuge. Bicycles are not allowed on unpaved trails.

Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration

Photo courtesy of City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

The Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is the largest remaining natural area within the Lower Willamette River floodplain. The complex of meadows, woodlands and wetlands offers a unique opportunity for large-scale, tidally influenced floodplain and wetland area to be restored in the heart of the city, at approximately River Mile 16 just north of the Sellwood Bridge. 

During the summer of 2018, the Corps is undertaking alarge-scale habitat enhancement project in partnership with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and Parks & Recreation. The project will improve hydrology and habitat for protected wildlife species, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, bats and salmon. Right now, migrating salmon cannot safely access Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge on their journey to and from the Pacific Ocean because an existing culvert and water control structure blocks fish access into the refuge.

Project Details

Map courtesy of City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with the city of Portland to restore 75 acres of wetland habitat by:
  • Replacing the existing culvert under the Springwater Corridor and railroad berm with a larger box culvert;
  • Removing a water control structure;
  • Excavating tidal slough channels; and
  • Removing invasive plant species and replanting with native riparian and wetland species.

Funding for the project is provided by Corps and the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services. Portland Parks & Recreation owns the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, and will continue to be the steward of the property after completion of the project. Project costs are shared between the Corps (65%) and the city (35%). 

The Continuing Authorities Program and Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 allow the Corps to partner with non-federal agencies to accomplish certain water resources development projects.

Project Updates


Down the trail

In the coming planting season, crews will plant approximately 8,500 native trees within the project footprint, including Cascara, Red Alder and Cottonwoods. 

An elevated viewing platform, overlooking the open-water area of the wetland, is in the works.


november 1

Springwater Corridor re-opens

As announced by Commissioner Nick Fish (Portland Bureau of Environmental Service and Portland Parks & Recreation) and Mr. Lance Helwig (Chief of Engineering and Construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District), the Springwater Corridor trail re-opens on November 1, 2018.


early fall

Finishing touches

Construction crews continue to work on other parts of the project, including the removal of a water control structure (similar to a dam) that hindered free flow of water and free passage of fish between the Willamette River and the wildlife refuge, the construction of a trail "bump out" to allow a safe place for trail users to stop and view the river and the refuge, the re-grading of tidal slough channels to improve hydrology, and the installation of natural habitat features to improve ecosystem complexity.


Major culvert construction 

The railroad tracks and ties and the pavement of the Springwater Corridor are removed from the berm and crews excavate an open trench to allow for installation of the new box culvert.

To minimize the project footprint, a barge delivers pre-fabricated culvert sections to the site via the Willamette River and supports the crane used to place the pieces and assemble the culvert.

Crews install the open bottom culvert and re-fill the berm. The railroad tracks are replaced, and the Springwater Corridor remains closed for public safety.

Early summer

Preparatory work continues; Springwater Corridor trail closes at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

The "in water work window" opens July 1 and will run through October 31. As required by state law, the bulk of the work takes place during this time to minimize impact on salmon. 

The trail closure starts after being postponed a week to accommodate the July Fourth holiday and the Blues Festival. Street teams are onsite to provide reminders and way-finding assistance. The temporary closure will continue as planned through October 31. The contractor continues to move materials and equipment to the site by rail ahead of the trail closure. Early mobilization by the contractor allowed the project to keep moving on schedule while the trail remained open for an additional week. 

As the site was dewatered, the project team, in partnership with the Xerces Society, salvages approximately 230 native freshwater mussels and any remaining fish from the wetland and transported them away from the site and out of harms way. 


Early work: Vegetation removal

In preparation for the project, cottonwood and ash trees and other vegetation are cleared from construction areas. Completing this work before the primary bird nesting season, which began in April, ensures that birds built nests out of harm’s way.  

Fewer than 145 trees, mostly wetland species such as Oregon ash and cottonwood, were removed. Many will be reused on site rooas habitat features: larger trees will be used in the channels or as snags, and smaller trees and branches will be built into habitat piles that will provide shelter for wildlife.

A total of 8,500 native trees and shrubs will be installed after construction. 

Short Term Impacts, Long Term Benefits

During construction, the Springwater Corridor Trail will close for up to 120 consecutive days. Directional signage will provide bicyclists and pedestrians with alternative routes around the closure. Walking and biking access to the Oregon Yacht Club floating home community and Oaks Amusement Park will be maintained throughout the project via the Springwater Corridor.

The restoration of Oaks Bottom will provide important habitat for fish and wildlife that are considered "special status," including threatened salmon and over 100 bird species. Improving the connection between Oaks Bottom and the Willamette river will:

  • Facilitate fish passage into Oaks Bottom so that juvenile salmon can access calmer waters to rest and find food;
  • Restore the natural tidal exchange between Oaks Bottom and the Willamette River to improve wetland habitat; and
  • Reduce invasive species and foster growth of native vegetation.

The addition of two wildlife viewing platforms will also increase opportunities for recreational and educational enjoyment of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.