How Madrone Wall became a Clackamas County park
Keith Daellenbach spent nearly 20 years trying to preserve the Madrone Wall and make it accessible as a Clackamas County park.
Now his dream has come true: the wall, a 100-foot-tall basalt rock cliff, located along the Clackamas River Bluffs on Highway 224 outside of Carver, opened to the public as a county park in October 2017.
Daellenbach will talk about the Madrone Wall during the last Seasoned Adults Enrichment Program event at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Clackamas Community College's Harmony Campus, 7726 S.E. Harmony Road.
After Daellenbach first climbed the wall in 1997, the county abruptly closed the site, and announced plans to quarry the centuries-old rock, which "would destroy an irreplaceable amazing civic treasure," he said.
"As an engineer, I understand and support carefully considered resource extraction to help build our society, but some places are so special that they need preservation status for all time. This is one such site," he said.
At that point, Daellenbach formed the Madrone Wall Preservation Committee, made up mostly of rock climbers. The group reached out to local citizens, who had no idea a quarry was planned. In 2000, the county abandoned the plan, and Daellenbach then set his sights on turning the Madrone Wall into a county park.
The site now is open seasonally from July 16 through Jan. 31.
Madrone Wall Park is closed from Feb. 1 to July 15 to protect nesting peregrine falcons that inhabit the rock wall. The birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and visitors to the site are asked to respect the No Trespassing signs during the closure.
Reflecting on the lengthy process the committee went through, Daellenbach said he is most proud of "staying engaged in spite of very long odds and never giving up on what we knew was a great idea for the community."
He noted that he was pleased to be asked to speak to the Seasoned Adults group because he has always maintained he would "speak to any group — large or small — about the Madrone Wall, because it is truly an amazing civic treasure."
Daellenbach added, "I am hoping, now that the site is established as a park, that the Seasoned Adults group members will avail themselves to go out to visit the site when it is open, after peregrine falcon nesting closure is over in mid-July."
Scale the wall
What: The Seasoned Adults Enrichment Program presents Keith Daellenbach, who will talk about the 20-year process of turning the Madrone Wall into a Clackamas County Park.
When: 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, May 30
Where: Clackamas Community College's Harmony Campus, 7726 S.E. Harmony Road.
About SAEP: SAEP is a member-led club that provides educational experiences to seniors, or "seasoned adults," in Clackamas County.
More: For information or to join the mailing list, call 503-594-0620 or visit clackamas.edu/academics/academic-offerings/community-education/seasoned-adult-enrichment-program.
For more information about the Madrone Wall Park, visit clackamas.us/parks/madronewall.html. The park is closed until July 16 to protect nesting peregrine falcons.
Getting there: Head southeast on Highway 224 through Carver. The park is on the left, about 2.3 miles past 197th Avenue. The road to the cliff has a yellow gate. If the gate is closed, the park is closed. There is a $5 parking fee.