Wilkes Creek Headwaters Development

The community is invited to join Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) in planning improvements for Wilkes Creek Headwaters, a 20.7-acre site near NE 154th Avenue and NE Fremont Street in the Wilkes neighborhood.
Four people walking along a grassy path next to native trees.
Planning starting late spring 2023

Project Updates

  • PP&R staff provided information about the project at the February 7, 2023 Wilkes Community Group meeting.
  • Site surveying work will begin onsite in the upcoming weeks. Park neighbors may see survey staff, markings, and tree tags.  
  • We will put out an application for the project advisory committee later this spring. 

To join our email list for future project updates, please email Maija Spencer at maija.spencer@portlandoregon.gov.  

Project Overview

Wilkes Creek Headwaters Property is intended to be a hybrid park – one that contains both a natural area and a developed park. The natural area portion will be focused on restoring riparian habitat, providing sustainable access to nature, protecting water quality, maintaining wildlife habitat, and celebrating the natural and cultural importance of the Headwaters. The developed park area will support public access, gathering, and active and passive outdoor recreation.

This project will involve collaboration with the community to develop a plan for the entire park, with a focus on including the voices of Native and Indigenous communities and communities of color. A goal of the project is to establish accessible nature experiences with cultural and ecological significance in an area of Portland that currently has few opportunities for meaningful access to natural areas. 

Improvements may include natural area restoration, trails, wayfinding signage, public art, and developed park amenities such as play areas, restrooms, and gathering areas. 

The community engagement process will include a project advisory committee and multiple community gatherings. The goal is a welcoming and inclusive process to identify the community's priorities for this site and to ensure creation of a plan that addresses community needs.

Project Background 

One of the largest undeveloped areas in East Portland, the Wilkes Creek Headwaters Property is a 20.7-acre hybrid park, near NE 154th Avenue and NE Fremont Street. Previously a filbert orchard, holly farm, and private estate, the site was vacant from 2002 until 2011 when it was jointly acquired by Metro, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R).

This site features unique natural features. The headwaters for Wilkes Creek, one of the few free-flowing streams connecting into the Columbia Slough, can be seen bubbling up from the earth near the midway point of the property. Forty bird species, coyotes, and the Stumptown scud (a freshwater crustacean only found in the  Portland area), call the property home.

Since 2011, BES, PP&R natural area stewards, and partners from Friends of Trees, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and the Greening Wilkes initiative have led many efforts at this site to enhance the site's natural resources by planting native plants and trees and removing invasive species. In partnership with Native and Indigenous communities,  work has begun to create a camas meadow.

In December 2022, then-Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio announced $4 million in System Development Charge funds to complete a site master plan and pay for design and construction for portions of the site. 

Project Schedule 

Design Concept and Community Engagement 

Winter 2023 - Spring 2023 - Project Set-Up, Contracting, Project Advisory Committee Recruitment

Summer 2023 - Fall 2024 - Community Engagement and Planning/Design Process

Construction Documents, Permitting, Construction, and Completion

  • Construction Documents, Permitting and Contracting: Fall 2024 - Summer 2025
  • Construction: Summer 2025 - Fall 2026
  • Anticipated Opening Date: Fall 2026



Maija Spencer (she, they)

Senior Community Engagement Coordinator

Gary Datka (he, him)

Capital Project Manager


News and notices


Upcoming Events