“For more than 100 years the Island gave to the City. Now it is time for the City to give back to the Island”
Welcome to the Friends of Ross Island webpage. Friends of Ross Island is a joint effort of Willamette Riverkeeper, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Audubon Society of Portland and GreenWorks PC. The mission of the Friends of Ross Island is to provide a forum to allow the public to keep informed and become involved in decisions and activities pertaining to Ross Island. Our vision is one that integrates a protected and restored Ross Island -- that provides critical habitat for native wildlife species -- with respect for Ross Island's past and present industrial contributions and unparalleled opportunities for people to respectfully enjoy nature in the center of our urban landscape.
Ross Island is an oasis of nature in the middle of our city. It is home to nesting bald eagles and great blue herons. More than a hundred species of birds use Ross Island during their annual migrations, and federally listed Chinook, Coho and steelhead use its shallow water habitat as they move up and down the Willamette. On any given day, boaters may have the thrill of seeing beaver and otter swimming in the narrow Holgate Channel that lies between Ross Island and nearby Oaks Bottom Natural Area.
Ross Island is also a working landscape. For most of the past century, the lagoon at Ross Island was mined by the Ross Island Sand and Gravel Company to provide the materials used to construct most of Portland’s downtown skyline. Mining operations ceased in the Ross Island Lagoon in the1990s, but the Ross Island Sand and Gravel Company today retains ownership over the majority of the four island complex and continues to process sand and gravel from other sites in the Columbia River at a plant located on Ross Island. Much of the barge activity in the Ross Island Lagoon today actually involves restoration activities -- the Lagoon, more than 120 feet deep from decades of mining, is slowly being filled along its edges to provide shallow water and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife.
In 2007, Dr. Robert Pamplin, owner of Ross Island Sand and Gravel Company, donated 45 acres of Ross Island and $100,000 for restoration activities to the City of Portland. A significant portion of Ross Island is now officially part of the Portland Parks system, bringing to reality a vision that was first described by famed landscape architect John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago in his 1903 Report to the Portland Parks Board. In 2009, the Marine Board voted to establish a 5 mph No Wake Zone in the Ross Island Lagoon. The time is now right to begin planning for the island’s future as a protected and restored natural area. Please join us and become a Friend of Ross Island!
To become an official “Friend of Ross Island” and receive periodic updates and announcements about Ross Island including special trips and events, please contact Bob Sallinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Provide name and contact information including email)
Click Here to read Oregonian Article about Ross Island coming into Public Ownership.