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The schedule for the work is based on when it is legal to work in the water in Oaks Bottom

DAVID F. ASHTON - Inspecting the work area are City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Program Coordinator Ronda Fast, left, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Bennett. After years of planning and budgeting, the Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration Project got underway in mid-March.

"Now that we have equipment in place, we have only six days to clear vegetation and about 145 trees from the work area before the March 19 deadline," remarked US Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Bennett.

"The reason we are clearing these trees is to provide access to get our equipment and materials down to the wetland area," Bennett told THE BEE. "We're also moving the trees now, to ensure that birds that might have nested in them are out of harm's way."

The trees won't be scrapped, Bennett assured. "When the project is complete, we'll be putting them back to help salmonids and provide wildlife habitat."

"After this early work is complete, we don't anticipate much work in the area until July 1, the beginning of the in-water work window," informed City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Program Coordinator Ronda Fast.

"This means that the Springwater Trail will remain open and accessible until July 1, before being closed to all users until October," Fast pointed out.

"So, it's not too soon for regular trail users, such as commuters, to be considering alternative routes – although signs showing alternative routes for bicyclists and pedestrians will be posted ahead of the closure," Fast said.

The Bluff Trail, along the east side of the lagoon will remain open, Fast conceded, "but, it's important to note that no bicycles are allowed on that path throughout the refuge."

For current information on the project, go online: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/oaksbottom

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