Nature lovers will soon have more urban forest to explore in Northwest Portland, now that 22 acres of undeveloped land have been donated by a local real estate investor.
Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuary is now a 172-acre forest refuge.
That’s after Marty Kehoe and his family decided to donate Pittock Place — a 22-acre plot of land that borders Forest Park.
“As a family, we talked a lot about this” said Marty Kehoe in a press release statement. “We loved the property and felt that it would make a wonderful gift – not only to the Portland Audubon, but as a permanent gift to the whole city.”
The undeveloped land is worth an estimated $14 million and was slated for the development of 32 multimillion-dollar homes. The Kehoe’s only request for the donation was for the remaining mortgage of the property be paid off.
Audubon donors were able to raise the last $200,000 to pay off the mortgage to ensure the protection of the new land.
“We’ve fought to protect lands like this for over a century and felt development would eventually happen if we didn’t act,” said Portland Audubon Executive Director Nick Hardigg in a press release statement.
According to the Audubon, the property is one of the largest, most ecologically valuable and at-risk parcels on the periphery of Forest Park.
“Driving up here, it was not lost on me that this would be a prime place for development,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish at an ivy-cutting ceremony at the new obtained land. “So, to make a gift like this on such favorable terms, the idea of protecting the health of our community, Balch Creek and other assets is a legacy gift.”
The City of Portland contributed to the acquisition of the new land by providing $350,000 to purchase a conservation easement to help limit the potential of future development.
The city will also provide $150,000 for restoration services which will include removing invasive plants and protecting water quality.
The partnership between the city and the Audubon helped discover unmapped wetlands and forest canopies.
Fish said protecting this land will ensure it will be healthy for generations to come.
“This is also a big win for fish and wildlife and it provides a wildlife quarter that connects our beautiful forest park with other natural areas as far as the coast range.”
The new addition of the land will be renamed as the “Katherine Lynn Kehoe Sanctuary” after Kehoe’s daughter who is an avowed environmentalist and nature advocate.
For now, the city of Portland will begin the restoration process in hope to open new trails for the public soon.