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Staying fit through walking is a good idea -- and when Oaks Bottom is nearby, a GREAT idea

RITA A. LEONARD - The seniors in the Southeast Thursday Hikers group visited Oaks Bottoms on Thursday, February 28. Hiking leader Helen Davalos is at right. A "Thursday Hikers" group that has met on Thursdays at 10 a.m. for the past twelve years is made up "Mostly of grandmas and retired ladies", according to Southeast Group Leader Helen Davalos – who, herself, is still an active independent insurance agent in Portland at a very advanced age. "We are about 25 active hikers in five groups who enjoy exploring the many interesting new trails and sites in Oregon and Washington. We welcome anyone who would like to join us. E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for our schedules."

Davalos led the February 28th hike in the Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration area, in the aftermath of the recent rehabilitation of the Oaks Bottom Lagoon and rebuilding of the Springwater Trail there. "We also hiked across the new Sellwood Bridge, read the information signs posted there, and then returned for lunch at Jade Bistro & Patisserie in Sellwood."

The five hiking groups – one for each Thursday of the month – are named for the areas they frequent. There are the Mountain Troop, Northeast Troop, Washington Group, Southeast Group, and the Southwest Group. Exercise and camaraderie are their main interests. "We only have two rules," says Davalos: "No politics and no religion – we can talk about anything else. We hike about three miles on each trip." The senior hikers admired the new salmon habitats created east of the tunnel that now connects the Oaks Bottom Lagoon to the Willamette River under the new Springwater Trail segment. "We have a few birdwatchers among our members," Davalos commented. "One even had an app so we could listen to authentic bird calls."

These 12 hikers in Oaks Bottom on February 28 saw hummingbirds, downy woodpeckers, courting wood ducks, and other wildlife. They were also impressed with close-up views of the seven-story-tall wildlife mural on the west side of the Portland Memorial Mausoleum. "Look, there's a beaver and a kingfisher," they exclaimed, taking photos of the building. The huge mural is considered to be the largest hand-painted mural in the USA.

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