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Special Status and At-Risk Species

The Special Status Species List is the City of Portland’s primary source of guidance on which wildlife species to prioritize for protection, conservation, and restoration. The At-Risk Species List is a subset of the Special Status List and includes the species most vulnerable and of highest concern.
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The Special Status and At-Risk Species Lists are a product of the Environmental Services’ 2009 Terrestrial Ecology Enhancement Strategy (TEES). The purpose of TEES was to build a body of information and agreed-upon priorities for planning, conservation, and restoration of terrestrial plant and animal species and habitats in the City.

The TEES has since been updated, which is covered in the Special Status and At-Risk Species List Report.

View the Special Status Species List and At-Risk Species List webpages to view the most up-to-date version of the lists. 

How Does the City of Portland Use the Lists? 

The Special Status and At-Risk Species Lists assist land managers, project managers, and planners in identifying actions that will help protect, restore, and enhance the identified wildlife species and their habitats. The lists specifically assist the City in the following: 

  • Identifying focal species for capital project design and land management planning between City bureaus 
  • Designating Special Habitat Areas in the City’s Natural Resource Inventory, which are used for the development of environmental overlay zones 
  • Interpreting watershed health monitoring data to inform citywide planning 
  • Monitoring of key species and habitats over time to determine the trends in the health of biological communities 
  • Deciding on watershed-specific objectives for biological communities in each of the City’s urban watersheds 
  • Guiding City bureaus and community members in improving habitat and addressing plant and wildlife management issues

Criteria for Inclusion on the Lists

Geographic Criteria

The lists are regionally focused and not confined or restricted to the City of Portland service area. Some species on the lists may not currently occur within City limits. 

Inclusion on the species list is consistent with the species range and frequency criteria outlined in the Intertwine’s 2012 Biodiversity Guide for the Greater Portland-Vancouver Region: Companion to the Regional Conservation Strategy. The geographic area includes 1,829,575 acres (2,859 square miles), all or parts of seven Oregon and three Washington counties and 14 watershed subbasins. Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River Gorge to the east and the Coast Range to the west, the region lies at the northern tip of the Willamette Valley, the upstream end of the Lower Columbia Basin, and the southern edge of the Puget Trough.  

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) divide Oregon into ecoregions when considering a species conservation status. The three ecoregions used as geographic criteria for those institutions’ status categories are Willamette Valley, Coast Range, and West Slope Cascades since a portion of each of those ecoregions overlaps with our defined regional footprint.  

ORBIC also considers species and subspecies occurrence by Oregon counties. Environmental Services biologists used a combination of best professional judgment and whether ORBIC indicates if the species occurs in one of the seven Oregon counties (Clackamas, Columbia, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Washington, Yamhill) in the defined region when considering inclusion on the lists.

A map that shows the Portland Metro and surrounding counties with a border overlay showing the boundary considered for the Special Status and At-Risk Species Lists.
Geographic boundary for the Special Status and At-Risk Species Lists.

Conservation Status Criteria 

Special Status Species List 

Species on the Special Status List have been listed or identified in one or more of the following: 

  • Oregon Conservation Strategy Species: Identified as a strategy species. 
  • Partners in Flight Regional Focal Species: Identified as a focal species for habitat conservation. 
  • American Bird Conservancy/Audubon U.S. Watchlist: Identified as having a red or yellow status. 
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Priority Species: Identified as a conservation priority in land acquisition priorities. 
  • Northwest Power and Conservation Council: Selected as terrestrial focal species for the Willamette Basin Subbasin Plan.  
  • City of Portland Terrestrial Ecology Enhancement Strategy Advisory Group: Species not captured by the above criteria that warrant inclusion on the Special Status Species List.  
At-Risk Species List 

Species on the At-Risk Species List have been listed or identified in one or more of the following: 

  • Federal Status: Species that are federally listed under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which may occur within Oregon. 
  • Oregon State Status: Species in Oregon that are identified as sensitive, sensitive–critical, threatened, or endangered by ODFW.  
  • Oregon Biodiversity Information Center Heritage Rank: Species have a G1-3 or S1-3 rank or 1-3 on the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center List. 
Extirpated Species 

Species known to be extirpated from the Portland region are excluded from the list even if they meet one or more of the above criteria.


Jade Ujcic-Ashcroft

Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist