West Hayden Island
West Hayden Island is one of Portland’s most important natural areas. Its 826-acres of bottomland hardwood forest, wetlands, meadows, floodplains and shallow water habitat near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers provide irreplaceable habitat for federally listed salmon and imperiled bird, bat and amphibian species. It is an amazing place where you can see nesting Bald Eagles and rapidly disappearing species like Pileated Woodpeckers and Western Meadowlarks. It is also located next to one of the largest manufactured-home, affordable-housing communities in Oregon.
Despite its ecological value, the area remains at risk for development. The Port of Portland has tried since the early 1990s to convert much of the natural area on West Hayden Island into parking lots and marine industrial terminals. Portland Audubon and a growing coalition of groups has successfully fought three major multi-year attempts by the Portland of Portland to annex and rezone west Hayden Island for industrial development since 1998.
In 2017, Portland Audubon achieved a major victory on West Hayden Island when the City of Portland recognized in its 2035 Comprehensive Plan that West Hayden Island would not be needed for industrial development at least for the life of the plan (through 2035). More recently the Port of Portland has informally recognized that is decades long quest for marine terminals on West Hayden Island is no longer viable and no marine terminals will be build on the island now or in the future. We continue to work toward realizing a new vision for West Hayden Island
A New Vision for West Hayden Island
We envision a fully restored 826-acre wildlife area and nature park at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers: A place that provides habitat for more than 200 species of fish, birds and wildlife and extraordinary opportunities for people to hike, paddle and enjoy nature in an urban environment.
The community will acknowledge and honor Native American heritage on these lands and all treaty rights connected to these lands will be honored.
Visitors will explore a mosaic of wetlands, grasslands and beaches, as well as one of the largest intact bottomland hardwood forests left on the lower Columbia River. A new nature center will provide programs for children and adults about the unique role that confluence areas play in the migratory cycles of our imperiled fish and wildlife populations. Our local green economy will be supported by nature-based recreation, restoration projects, and the establishment of a regional mitigation bank to allow for marine development in more appropriate locations.
West Hayden Island will symbolize our commitment to restoring balance to our urban landscapes and to leaving the land better than we found it for future generations.