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Columbia Slough Natural Area

Natural Area
Image of volunteers in grassy field surrounded by trees, working to take care of recently planted trees and plants at Columbia Slough Natural Area.
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About Columbia Slough Natural Area

Columbia Slough Natural Area is at the confluence of 2 channels of the Columbia Slough and is a rare patch of nature in a very industrialized part of Portland. City of Portland acquired this property in 2011.  

There is no official trail in this small natural area, but pending future funding, there may eventually be an extension of the Columbia Slough trail passing through the site, helping to fill in the missing sections of the Columbia Slough regional trail. 

About the Columbia Slough

The Columbia Slough is approximately 19 miles long and stretches from its origin at Fairview Lake westward to its confluence with the Willamette River. In spite of its urbanized character, the Columbia Slough contains surprising biodiversity. Mammals such as beaver, and river otter are common along the Slough, and at Columbia Slough Natural area, and about 175 bird species have been documented in the watershed. In addition, Western painted turtles (one of only two native turtle species in Oregon) and several salmonid species inhabit portions of the Slough.  

In partnership with other agencies and non profit organizations, Portland Parks & Recreation is working to protect and enhance habitat and linkages along the Columbia Slough. There are multiple habitats found along the Columbia Slough, including bottomland hardwood forests, oak woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and interior forests. There are also many freshwater spring systems in and along the Columbia Slough. 

You can find more information about the Columbia Slough, including resources for boaters and information about water access, here

image of 3 people in 3 kayaks on the Columbia slough
Year acquired

Bureau of Environmental Services started the initial process of restoration and planting from 2011-2016, and in 2016, management switched to Portland Parks & Recreation. Since then, Portland Parks & Recreation has been restoring the site with staff and volunteers alike. Since 2016, with support from a grant from the Port of Portland Airport Futures fund, organizations like Friends of Trees and Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) High School have partnered with PP&R and hosted hundreds of volunteers to successfully plant thousands of native shrubs, wildflowers, and trees, and the site has transformed from a grass field to a lush green, flower-filled habitat.  

The Columbia Slough Trail, which runs close to this property, was made possible in part by a generous donation of land by the Spada Family. The donation of 6.0923 acres, from the Arthur Spada and Mary B. Spada Trust, is to be maintained as trail and open space. The property is located west of NE 185th and east of NE Airport Way off of Marine Drive. It provides a valuable natural habitat and a trail link for the Columbia Slough Trail.

The City of Portland is currently partnering with regional jurisdictions, community groups, and private organizations and leading a process to develop a formal, meaningful acknowledgement of our region’s traditional inhabitants. If you have questions about this process, you can email:

View of Columbia Slough with trees with orange leaves on the banks

Park Location or Entrance

11140 NE Simpson Street
Portland, OR 97220

Park policy

  • All dogs must be leashed in this park.


City section