“To inspire community members to protect the Tualatin River, we first must make them aware of the river.”
This was the idea that served as the main impetus in the creation of the Tualatin Riverkeepers in 1990. The infamous “Westside Bypass” was the catalyzing issue that led the way. Concerned watershed citizens Rob Baur, Kathy Clair and April Olbrich were troubled about the loss of rural and farmland in Washington County due to the proposed Westside Bypass project. They put their heads together and, along with the help of other concerned community members, organized the first Tualatin River Discovery Day. This paddle event that launched from Elsner Park in June of 1990 would serve as a way to get folks out on the river, building a personal connection that would lead to stewardship of the river for years to come.
Recreation has been a pillar of our organization since the beginning and still plays a crucial part in creating more stewards of this watershed. We offer a variety of ways for folks of all walks of life and of all ages to engage with their watershed and learn more about where their drinking water comes from, the creatures that live in our watershed, and the native plants that are present along the Tualatin River.