Saving Parrot Creek

About This Project

Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid. ~ Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Neil Dawe

At the end of February 2009, Urban Green received an e-mail from an Oregon City citizen activist who had been contacted by a property owner who lived next to a small piece of County-owned forest in the Parrot Creek watershed. Clackamas County was about to liquidate some of its forest holdings in the rural parts of the County to raise money for funding parks in the urban part of the County.  As Urban Green was about to find out, this was standard practice and part of an ongoing, fully staffed program at the County.

After researching the facts of the situation and taking a tour of the forest earmarked for liquidation, Urban Green joined other concerned citizens in engaging County staff and the County Commissioners on the issues.

There was a County-funded facility adjacent to the forest to be clear-cut – the Parrot Creek Boys Ranch. This residential program facility has been providing critical services for the Oregon Youth Authority for more than 30 years. It provides individual counseling, family counseling, accredited schooling, drug and alcohol services, and post-residential support services. The forest environment is critical for its mission. All of this was jeopardized by the County’s logging plan.

Through direct engagement with the County Commissioners and staff, the community coalition was able to at least defer this plan. The logging permit expired at the end of 2009 without any logging having taken place.

Though Urban Green is grateful for the County’s deferral in this important case, one has to keep in mind the basic law of Earth preservation – those who wish to preserve the Earth and its ecosystem services have to be constantly vigilant and “win” each day. The other side has to “win” only once.