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Whitaker Ponds Natural Area

Natural area

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About Whitaker Ponds Natural Area

This nature park is home to two ponds, a ½ mile loop trail, an ecoroof-covered gazebo, and a canoe launch into Whitaker Slough. The two ponds are surrounded by a black cottonwood forest which has been enhanced over the past 15 years with thousands of native plants. Native shrubs and wildflowers support local pollinators in the summertime, and the path around the West pond park highlights plant communities from the Northwest.

A sloping ramp leads down to an observation dock on the west pond, from which visitors can see fish, frogs, and water bugs. A second dock into Whitaker Slough is located on the north side of the park, and offers excellent access for canoes and kayaks. Paddlers can launch from the park and travel west on Whitaker Slough to connect to the main stem of the 19-mile Columbia Slough. Note that no fishing or paddling is allowed in either of the ponds.

The park is frequented by many animals, including downy woodpeckers, rabbits, beavers, garter snakes, osprey, dragonflies, otters, and wood ducks. In February, park visitors may spot fuzzy grey owlets from the great horned owl’s nest in a bare cottonwood tree. And in May, bird enthusiasts can enjoy the feisty territorial spats between individual rufous hummingbirds as they establish who has rights to which red-flowering currant bush.

PP&R Environmental Education, the Bureau of Environmental Services, and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council provide youth and adult education programs. The nature park is maintained by PP&R staff with the help of volunteers from the Columbia Slough Watershed Council.

Park Rules

- No dogs allowed.
- No fishing or paddling on ponds.
- No camping or overnight parking.
- Remove your own garbage.
- Please stay on designated trails (the east pond is a wildlife protection area with no public entry)

Accessibility Notes

The best access to the park is from the entrance at 7040 NE 47 Avenue, a ¼ mile north of Columbia Blvd. TriMet bus #75 makes a stop at the corner of NE 47th Avenue and Columbia Blvd and visitors can walk north from there to the park entrance. Bike racks are located inside the entrance near the west pond.

Size in acres

25.76

Year acquired

1998

History

The park and its facilities are the result of many collaborative partnerships involving the City of Portland, Metro, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and many community members. Portions of the park were used as a junkyard before they were acquired, and over 2,000 tires were removed in the process of restoring the area to a nature park. PP&R manages the park, and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council has offices onsite.

Park Location or Entrance

Whitaker Ponds Natural Area main entrance
7040 NE 47th Avenue
Portland, OR 97218

Open hours

Park hours: 5:00am-midnight 

Park amenities/activities

Trails (Hiking)

City section

NE