2011 PIC Grant, $12,705
Ross Island is a unique urban treasure. Standing in the middle of the Willamette River a mile from downtown Portland, the island with a heavy industrial past also happens to be a significant habitat for fish, birds, beavers and otters. Named an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society due to its use for both resident and migratory birds, 46 species have been officially counted on the island, including bald eagles. Even though most of this natural area transitioned to City of Portland ownership in 2007, the island is still off limits to the public as clean-up and restoration efforts continue. Unless you are there to work.
Enter Willamette Riverkeeper. Ross Island is only open to the public through volunteer work parties, and Willamette Riverkeeper, Audubon, and Portland Parks and Recreation organize trips to the island as a way to engage the public as well as provide some necessary restoration labor by pulling invasive weeds, picking up garbage, and planting native trees. Willamette Riverkeeper received a $12,705 PIC grant in 2011 to led these work trips and also monitor birds, conduct paddle trips, and take part in the Great Willamette Clean-up. During the course of the grant, Willamette Riverkeeper led a total of 17 work parties and engaged a total of 147 participants, providing 682 hours of restoration services. They brought a greater awareness to the ecological significance of Ross Island and our urban greenways. Restoration work is still in progress, contact Willamette Riverkeeper for your ticket to this off-limits urban gem.