It all started when...
a few neighbors in Hallinan Heights neighborhood of Lake Oswego, Oregon got together to talk about the Yates Street property -- a 2-acre plot adjacent to Hallinan Woods (see map). Was there any way to add this property to Hallinan Woods and create a nature park?
Hallinan Woods is an existing, 3.72-acre natural area owned by the city, just north of Hallinan Elementary School. Every day, dozens of children walk this path on their way to and from school. Dozens of residents jog or walk through, listening to the creek flow and the birds chirp. Hallinan residents say they love this little corner of the neighborhood. It is their daily dose of nature, which research shows increases happiness, improves health, and extends lifespans[i].
Over the last decade, many neighbors young and old have worked diligently with the City of Lake Oswego to make Hallinan Woods a healthy, natural area by removing invasive plants and adding more native plants. This improves wildlife habitat, stream health, water quality, and air quality. In the last year, students from Hallinan Elementary School have helped as well, and the Friends of Hallinan Heights Woods is working to bring more students into the woods for experiential learning and community service.
We have an opportunity to bring Hallinan Woods from 3.72 acres to nearly 6 acres. The city is currently considering an application to cut down 150 trees and build six houses on the 2.08-acre property at 1107 Yates Street. The property currently has only one unoccupied home on it. A portion of Hallinan Creek flows through the property on its way to the Willamette River.
This property is perfectly situated to serve a higher purpose, and local citizen groups are envisioning it as an outdoor learning center for current and future children and all residents. Moreover, if this property is developed into homes, the natural experience at Hallinan Woods will be diminished.
The Coalition for Hallinan Woods Nature Park is asking the city to acquire this property in order to expand Hallinan Woods.
Local citizen groups envision adding the property to the existing Hallinan Woods to create a nearly six-acre natural area. This will provide more opportunities for children and adults to get into nature and learn about wildlife, native species, and ecology.
A handful more houses here will benefit very few; more open space and a natural area benefit a great many in our rapidly growing community.
To learn more or get involved, email us: hallinannaturepark [at] gmail [dot] com
Building more houses here will:
· Reduce wildlife habitat
· Remove 150 trees
· Reduce open space – already at a premium in Lake Oswego
· Degrade the experience of trail walkers in Hallinan Woods
· Contribute more water pollution to Hallinan Creek, which flows into the Willamette River
· Degrade the experience of current and future children who use the woods to play, learn about the outdoors, and get closer to nature in an age when there are few opportunities or places for them to do so.
Adding this property to Hallinan Woods will:
· Preserve wildlife habitat and allow for citizen groups to restore the area by removing invasive species and planting more natives.
· Increase opportunities for children and adults to enjoy nature.
· Preserve open space.
· Help maintain water quality and air quality.
· Allow for the possibility of a substantial nature park and future educational opportunities for students and residents.
Please join us in making Hallinan Woods even better – for our children, for wildlife, for water, and for our Lake Oswego way of life.
[i] Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., Kaplan, Stephen. (2008). The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature. Psychological Science. 19: 1207-1212. http://libra.msra.cn/Publication/6994981/the-cognitive-benefits-of-interacting-with-nature.
Children and Nature Network. (2012). Health Benefits to Children from contact with the Outdoor & Nature. 46 pages. http://www.childrenandnature.org/downloads/CNNHealthBenefits2012.pdf. http://www.childrenandnature.org/.
Donovan, G. Butry, D. Michael, Y., Prestemon, J., Liebhold,A., Gatziolis, D., Mao, M. (2013). The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the EAB. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 44(2):139-45. http://californiareleaf.org/trees-in-the-news/the-relationship-between-trees-human-health.
Gies, E. (2006). The Health Benefits of Parks. The Trust for Public Land. http://www.tpl.org/publications/books-reports/park-benefits/the-health-benefits-of-parks.html.
Map by Google and Natalie Henry Bennon