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PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — A Garden Home nonprofit spurred by Portland Golf Club’s plans to “destroy” a wetland along Fanno Creek Trail is asking the club to work with the community to find a better solution.
Neighbors for Wetland Preservation has been closely following the golf club’s plans to dredge the course’s irrigation pond and place 30 to 40 sizable sediment bags on a wetland adjacent to the Fanno Creek Trail on the south end of the golf club’s property.
The Portland Golf Club has been at the same site, bordering Southwest Scholls Ferry Road on the north end, for nearly 110 years. In that time, dirt and silt has been building up in the pond because of Woods Creek — which ends in the golf club’s Junior Lake — and Fanno Creek — which intersects the pond twice before continuing west.
Lonnie Lister, Portland Golf Club general manager, said the accumulation of sediment has caused problems for the club’s main source of irrigation for the links. The dredging project would also lower the temperature of the pond, which has recently been high enough to cause algal blooms.
“The sediment has been building up over the last few years,” Lister said. “It’s important that we remove it for our irrigation system. The project gets us down to the capacity of the lake when the water rights were assigned.”
Sue Skinner of Neighbors for Wetland Preservation lives nearby the Fanno Creek Trail, which runs adjacent to the piece of land the golf club intends to clear for machinery storage and sediment bags. She said clearing the area and storing machinery there over the summer would have both short- and long-term effects on the enjoyability of the trail.
“We get letters from so many people saying they attribute their health and their husband’s health to walking this path,” Skinner said. “It means a lot to a lot of people.”
The project would clear the land on the other side of the fence from Fanno Creek Trail, from Southwest 81st to 84th avenues, to make way for equipment and the sediment bags.
Skinner said she is concerned about the loud machinery, the detriment to the trail as the trucks and tractors bridge the gap from the residential areas off Southwest Garden Home Road to the golf club’s property, and the loss of animal habitat on the 0.7-acre wetland. She’s hoping that by raising awareness of the golf club’s project, she can convince them to discuss more viable options that keep the natural area intact.
“We want them to be able to address their needs and wants, but also value the wetland and let the inner-city greenspace survive,” Skinner said.
“I think we can all coexist,” she added.
Lister described the wetland proposed as the landing spot for the sediment bags aptly as undeveloped, grown in with vegetation and surrounded by trees.
“We considered a number of different ways the material could be dealt with before they even let us submit an application to remediate the wetlands,” Lister said. “A number of the scenarios just didn’t work.”
Portland Golf Club attempted to dredge the pond in 2017, but Lister said the project was unsuccessful as the contractor on the project planned to remove the sediment and take it to an off-site location after draining the water, but the type of sediments in the pond made that infeasible.
This time around, Lister said, hauling away the sediments from the pond would cause even more issues for the neighborhood than placing the dirt and silt bags on the club’s property adjacent to the trail.
“The estimates we received say it would take 500 dump truck loads to take it off-property,” Lister said. “We feel it’d be more disruptive to the neighborhood because there is one access street.”
But Skinner said that she would rather have dump trucks driving up and down her street for a month than damage the wetland.
“Even ‘one small project’ is going to change so much,” she said.
The Portland Golf Club is still going through the application process for the project with Washington County and agencies including the Department of State Lands, the Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The dredging would take about two months, including preparation and work after the dredging has been completed.