I didn’t travel too far from home with this month’s outdoor adventure. Living in Portland, we are so blessed with pockets of nature right in the city! I have good friends that live in the Sellwood neighborhood in SE Portland, not far from the entrances to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. This is an area I’ve recently grown quite fond of. We go running or hiking on the trails, and there is a great bike path that connects to the Willamette River bike route. It’s easy to make loops in the area, crossing any one of the many Portland bridges. On this particular day, I hiked a dirt path that hugs the Sellwood cliffside and wanders along the wetlands. This area provides a great opportunity to see many species of birds, and is a peaceful, quiet portion of the refuge (no bikes on this trail).
“Oaks Bottom is a floodplain wetland located along the east bank of the Willamette River. Part of the park is built on a sanitation landfill consisting of 400,000 cubic feet of construction waste material layered with soil. The City of Portland acquired the landfill property from the Donald M. Drake Company at the beginning of 1969 to block its development as an industrial park. The area was believed, at the time, to be one of the few remaining marshland areas in Portland, and local residents were strongly opposed to its development as industrial property.” -Taken from the Portland Parks & Recreation Website
I entered the trail via the parking lot on Milwaukie Ave. (right off of 99 East toward Milwaukie and Oregon City). Heading into the wildlife refuge from here, it’s easy to make a loop going back up through Sellwood Park, and part of the Sellwood neighborhood. This way, you can see part of historic Portland, such as the Sellwood neighborhood pool.
Built in 1910, this pool was the first of it’s kind in Portland. It replaced a floating pool that was in the Willamette river when it became too polluted to use. When the pool was first built, girls used it one day, while the boys used it the next-ahhh, the good ol’ days. The walk back through the park and neighborhood is beautiful with views of the city skyline, and the wildlife refuge below. If you are wanting to add some extra excitement to the day, Oaks Park Amusement park is in this area, offering roller skating, amusement park rides, and miniature golf.
Interested in making a day out of exploring the SE Portland area? I encourage you to visit Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden- only a mile or two from the refuge. Check out my post featuring this beautiful park!
Please share some of your favorite outdoor spots, I would love to check them out and feature them in my outdoor adventure series!