Issues that we are currently active on include:
Riverkeepers Challenge School District Wetland Destruction
The Planning Commission, contrary to Beaverton’s comprehensive plan and natural resource protection code voted to allow the Beaverton School District to fill 2.5 acres of wetland for sports fields on the South Cooper Mountain site pending approval by state and federal agencies. The wetland in question was assigned the “highest preservation priority” by the South Cooper Mountain Community plan adopted by the Beaverton City Council in February of this year.
“The planning commission abdicated their responsibility to uphold local natural resource protections” said Brian Wegener, Advocacy and Communications Manager for Tualatin Riverkeepers. Beaverton’s Comprehensive Plan states that “Significant Wetlands in the Local Wetland Inventory shall be protected for their filtration, flood control, wildlife habitat, natural vegetation and other water resource values.” State law ORS 197.175(2)(d) requires cities to comply with their own comprehensive plans. “The school district has available alternatives to build sports fields on adjacent dry property” said Wegener.
“This defies all intentions for the sustainable development of South Cooper Mountain” said former Metro Councilor and Tualatin Riverkeepers Board Member Carl Hosticka. “When Metro approved bringing South Cooper Mountain into the Urban Growth Boundary, protection of natural resources was paramount. The Cooper Mountain Plan addressed wetland protection and now Beaverton must enforce its own policy.”
Tualatin Riverkeepers filed the appeal with the Beaverton City Council. A hearing is scheduled for August 18.
Get involved. Read the ACTION ALERT.
Land use planning for new urban areas
We are engaged in planning discussions for Cooper Mountain, West Bull Mountain and South Hillsboro, trying to head off the impacts of development on creeks, wetlands, forests and wildlife. Decisions made now will impact these resources beyond our lifetimes. Read our testimony to the Beaverton Planning Commission about Beaverton School District’s attempt to fill 2.5 acres of wetland on Cooper Mountain.
Protecting urban creeks from stormwater runoff
Development with streets, parking lots, buildings and storm sewers has drastically increased the amount of stormwater runoff that erodes and pollutes our neighborhood creeks. Global climate change promises to make the situation even worse. Green infrastructure (aka low impact development) can reduce the polluted, erosive stormwater runoff from damaging our neighborhood creeks. In 2013 we completed two Parking Forest demonstration projects that reduce stormwater runoff from parking lots using linear tree wells and structural soil. We also advocated for funding for Tigard’s Main Street Green Street Project, which will reduce runoff that damages Fanno Creek. We are pushing for Beaverton’s Creekside District plan to liberate creeks from pipes, increase creekside buffers and reduce impervious area that causes runoff. Working on the municipal stormwater permit and design and construction standards is our strategy for preventing further degradation of creeks.
Working with Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District, we are helping to improve policies that protect rural creeks from agricultural runoff and restoring native vegetation that shades these creeks so they can provide cool water for our native trout and salmon.
Abundant clean water is essential for a healthy economy and for healthy fish, wildlife and human populations. Water conservation and sustainable infrastructure are needed and seismic integrity of the largest dam in the watershed is lacking. Fish passage over the Scoggins dam has been an issue since the day it was conceived and mitigation measures for fish have largely failed and persistent long-term advocacy by Tualatin Riverkeepers will continue until the problems are fixed.
Several of our committee members have extensive experience with state and federal wetland fill/removal permits. Currently TRK is working on a challenge to a proposed quarry that would drain wetlands on the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
Keep current on the public policy decisions that impact the Tualatin River system by subscribing to the Tualatin Watershed Watch Blog.