PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge re-opens November 1, bikers and pedestrians will once again be able to enjoy that part of the Springwater Corridor — and so will salmon.

City workers have taken advantage of seasonal dry time and low river levels to bore a big, new salmon-friendly culvert under the trail. That will give the fish a place to rest on their way to the ocean.

A new culvert 10 times the size of the old culvert that went under the Springwater Trail will now allow more water and more salmon to flow through it into the big wetland at Oaks Bottom. 

Its been nearly a $9 million project that has closed the Springwater Trail for the last 4 months while workers dropped in a huge new pipe from the river to Oaks Bottom in what City Commissioner Nick Fish calls a new salmon subway. 

 “This is going to be a rest stop, if you will, and a safe hiding place for young salmon,” Fish told KOIN 6 News. “And that’s thanks to this new salmon subway that replaces the old small culvert that will reconnect Oaks Bottom and the Willamette River for the first time in 100 years.” 

Oaks Bottom has not historically been a salmon spawning area, but it will provide young fish a calm place to rest of their way to the ocean. When rain comes, rising river levels will replenish the wetland as it once did, and it’ll be a convenient salmon off-ramp to rest and replenish on their long journey to and from the Pacific Ocean.