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Volume 18, Issue 1
January 2020


Park district acquires 25 acres on Laidlaw

Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) announced in December that it had used some of the funds remaining from the 2008 Bond Measure to purchase 25 acres from Ken Findley. The property was part of the original Findley family farm.

“When the family first came out here from the Wallowas, around 1898, my great-grandfather Alexander Findley planted orchards—pie cherries and peaches,” Findley said. “The bottom lands (which will comprise most of the park) were planted in hay and green beans. We used to have a picnic area where all the cousins would gather after church for a barbecue. There was a swimming hole in the creek. The original farm stretched from Laidlaw to Thompson.”


As more people began to move into the area, the farm was broken up. Findley’s father Everett got the north portion, and his brother George got the south end, and eventually sold part of that to the Schmidt family.

Ken and his wife Dolores built a home on the northwest corner of the property, and they’re retaining a little more than an acre surrounding the house. “I’ve planned to have this land preserved as a natural area for a long time,” Findley says. “Some of it would be suitable for development, but we don’t have enough parks so this is a better use for it. I’ve been talking with THPRD for six or seven years and I'm glad we finally worked it out.”

Bronson Creek runs through the site. According to Holly Thompson, THPRD Communications Director, “The 2008 voter-approved bond measure directed THPRD to use funds to protect local natural areas and lands near creeks and streams throughout the district, safeguard water quality and protect fish and wildlife habitat. The purchase represents significant completion of natural areas acquisition within the bond measure.”

“This property is a win-win for everyone,” said Felicita Monteblanco, THPRD Board President. “The board is very excited, we made it a priority this past year to focus on completing our goals for natural area acquisition from the 2008 bond. This property will enable us to preserve a critical natural habitat area while at the same time creating better potential for connections within our trail system.”

The property is adjacent to more than 50 acres of THPRD owned properties as well as other natural areas along Bronson Creek. Preserving this property helps provide cool, clean water to the lower parts of the watershed. Bronson Creek is an important wildlife corridor and local biodiversity hot spot. Elsewhere along the creek, THPRD staff has done restoration work to benefit native aquatic turtles and rare red-legged frogs. Community science volunteers will do turtle observation here this spring to guide restoration plans.

Looking ahead, the site could help with alignment of the proposed Bronson Creek Community Trail. Staff will begin work to develop a habitat restoration plan, estimated to take approximately three years, to bring more native trees and shrubs to the site to benefit wildlife and improve water quality. After this restoration period, THPRD will explore the potential for nature-centered amenities and community access, including trails and interpretive signage.

The south end of the new park property is steep and wet surrounding the creek. There’s a man-made pond near the west end. It will likely be retained since it functions as a water retention facility. Land to the west of the property is owned by BOSA, a Canadian company that developed the nearby subdivision, and is a protected natural area.


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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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