br />Carla Staedter, with
Portland Area Learns To Live With Urban Beavers
Producer: Vince Patton Videographers: Nick Fisher, Todd Sonflieth, Michael Bendixen Editor: Todd Sonflieth
Additional Photos & Video: Metro, Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation, Cleanwater Services-Dave Weich, Vince Patton, Katie Harris, Frank Maestas
During a decade-long building boom around the Portland area, many builders have ignored zoning laws, permit rules, and property lines.
They steal their building materials and construct new homes in the secrecy of darkness.
A beaver in Bannister Creek Greenway.
Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District
br />Charlie and Sue Kornahrens, who live near Portland’s Raleighwood Park, discovered thieves were stealing their trees and knew immediately who the suspects were.
“See him?” asks Sue as she points to a beaver swimming in a pond behind their home. “Way out there. He’s going really fast!”
Thanks to beaver dams, the Kornahrens’ yard has flooded.
Yet they see no reason to be upset with the disappearance of their meadow.
“You know, it’s like a new adventure and it’s just fun,” says Sue. “I mean, the beavers were here before we were here so, you know, this is their home too.”
In Tigard, Kyle and Katie Harris have watched beavers raise babies behind their back fence.
Says, Katie, “We realized there was something rippling in the water and something large swimming in the creek. It was a very large beaver that was just munching along, chewing on sticks.*
Even their cat, Jicama, likes to watch the beavers. He will perch at the edge of the creek as beavers swim by just feet away.
Jicama, the Harris’s cat, watches a beaver in the creek behind their house in Tigard.
br />Kyle Harris says, “They’ve been wonderful for us. They’ve turned what would be a sleepy neighborhood stream into a little wetland and we get all the wildlife that comes with it.”
But beavers are not everyone’s favorite neighbors.
Also in Tigard, Frank and Linda Maestas watched Derry Dell Creek rise right up to their deck.
“It just kept getting higher and higher and it was under our deck,” says Frank. “And you couldn’t even walk on here without putting your waders on.”
They wrapped protective metal mesh around trees and their deck supports, installed lights on motion detectors, and left talk radio on overnight.
Frank then tried demolishing their dam.
The beavers kept building.
He added a perforated pipe to keep water flowing under their dam.
The beavers promptly clogged it with mud.
Frank says, “I’m more impressed, annoyed, the same. Kind of frustrating when you work on it all the time and they just keep beating you.”
The Maestas do not want the beavers killed. They concede that the damage the beavers are causing to their property leaves them conflicted.
Linda says, “If we didn’t live right here, I would be saying we should leave the beavers alone.”
A remote camera revealed beavers and nutria working together to build a dam at Smith & Bybee Lakes in northwest Portland
Beavers have chewed down numerous trees in Greenway Park along Fanno Creek in Beaverton.