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City Council will discuss swapping thousands of acres of lands owned by Portland and the federal government within the watershed on Wednesday

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Bull Run Reservoir is the primary source of water for Portland and much of the region.

The City Council will consider a land swap within the Bull Run Watershed intended to consolidate ownership of the properties and continue protecting Portland's primary water source on Wednesday, June 26.

The swap has been years in the making and does not allow for logging or other human activities in the watershed. It would swap 2,201 acres of city-owned land managed by the Portland Water Bureau and 2,888 acres of national forest land managed by the Mt. Hood National Forest. Both land amounts are valued at $51 million each.

According to the ordinance authorizing the swap, the current ownership pattern dates to the 1890s and is inconsistent within the watershed. The idea of swapping land to better consolidate the city's holdings around the Bull Run Reservoir and its water distribution facilities has been discussed since the 1970s.

According to the impact statement that accompanies the ordinance, "From November 2018 through May 2019, Water Bureau staff met with a variety of community stakeholders to share the status of the formal federal exchange process and note the proposed Council action to approve the exchange agreement. These stakeholders included the Oregon Chapter of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Portland Utility Review Board, the Citizens Utility Board, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council, and the Bull Run Community Association."

You can read the ordinance here.


Related stories:

- Conservation groups hosts symposium

- National nonprofit: Willamette River 5th most endangered in U.S.

- Willamette River among most deadly for wild fish, says conservation group


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