Land Acquired For Canby Waterfront Park (OR)

CANBY, OREGON, 6/14/02 – In 1967, former Oregon Governor Tom McCall said, “We must be astute enough to see that preservation is far easier than correction, perceptive enough to realize that in the Willamette River we still have more to preserve than to correct, and bold enough to act accordingly.” Thirty-five years later, with sprawl and development encroaching from every corner, that vision to protect the Willamette River, a recently designated “American Heritage River,” and the land that surround it is more relevant than ever.

At the end of last month, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) conveyed a 15-acre stretch of waterfront property along the Willamette River to the City of Canby, marking the successful completion of efforts to acquire and convert a 22-acre former log-loading industrial site into a waterfront park. In March 2001, TPL helped the city acquire the first 7.5 acres. In December, TPL stepped in and purchased the remaining 15-acre parcel, holding it off the market until the City could secure funding.

State Representative Kurt Schrader said, “With no cost to tax payers, we just added almost 100 acres of parkland and wildlife habitat to our local community’s recreation plan.” Schrader added, “Partnering between the Trust for Public Land, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of State Parks, BPA, and City of Canby is an outstanding example of the way good government should be working to improve our quality of life.”

Once threatened with the development of four riverfront mansions, the property will now be incorporated into the Molalla River Pathway, a recreation trail that links the residential and commercial neighborhoods of the City of Canby with their rural landscape, and will provide nearly a half-mile of river frontage for public access. In addition, preservation of the property helps safeguard a vital migratory corridor of listed chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Canby mayor Terry Prince calls the property the “Crown Jewel” of the cherished “Emerald Necklace” trail system that will eventually encircle the city.

“This is a tremendous deal for the public and for wildlife preservation,” said Mayor Prince. “The maintenance needs for such property are low, while the public benefit is high. With our city growing so fast we need to jump on every opportunity to acquire and retain greenspace and especially riverfront property for ourselves and our future generations.”

The riparian habitat on the property will serve as an expansion of the adjacent outdoor classroom at Eco Park operated by the City. The river frontage, within the National Marine Fisheries Service’s critical migratory corridor for recently listed chinook salmon and steelhead trout runs, will augment existing green spaces in the area, including the adjacent 75-acre Fish Eddy property which is being transferred from Oregon State Parks to the City of Canby.

Funding for the project was provided by the City of Canby, Oregon State Parks Measure 66 local grant program, Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Program.

The Trust for Public Land is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization that works across the nation to conserve land for people. Founded in 1972, TPL specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance and law to protect land for public use. Working with private landowners, communities and government agencies, TPL’s Northwest Region has helped protect more than 240,000 acres in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana and Idaho for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, historic landmarks and wilderness lands.