Glencoe Swale needs some TLC.
From a bird’s eye view, Glencoe Swale appears to be a healthy ribbon of green space meandering through booming northern Hillsboro. This four-mile-long urban creek starts in an industrial area near Evergreen Parkway before traveling past tech manufacturers, a public works yard, and the Hillsboro Airport. It eventually enters residential neighborhoods and winds past schools and community sites. But up close, staff from Clean Water Services, City of Hillsboro, and Tualatin SWCD can see that this natural area needs some tender loving care in order to reach its full ecological potential.
Several community organizations and local governments are coming together to enhance all 4-miles of the urban creek.
- Make way for native plants!
Native shrubs, trees and other plants are important food sources for the wildlife that call this area home, but invasive species such as reed canary grass, Himalayan blackberry, and deadly nightshade are preventing them from establishing in the swale. In 2018, Clean Water Services and the City of Hillsboro began removing invasive species on city-owned property and replanting the area with a mix of native shrubs and trees. Now, Tualatin SWCD is working with the Jackson School Homeowners Association (HOA) to restore habitat on the private forest perched above the swale. This forest is a critical link for wildlife who depend on both forests and wetlands to complete their life cycles.
- It takes a village…
The community is eager to help improve the health of the swale and nearby forest. A restoration event led by Friends of Trees brought together over 100 volunteers to pull weeds and plant native species. Around the same time, Tualatin SWCD hosted a party to celebrate the launch of the Glencoe Swale Habitat Restoration Project. Over 50 HOA neighbors came to learn about this multi-year project and how it will improve wildlife habitat and water quality in the swale. Since then, a local community group, Friends of Glencoe Swale, has been busy organizing residents to help with storm drain marking, litter pick-ups, and monthly meetings.
- Improving the space for people too:
To ensure the community can easily access and enjoy the improved natural area, Tualatin SWCD is working with consultants to design a more resilient and sustainable trail system through the Jackson School HOA forest. Through surveys and stakeholder meetings, it became clear just how important this trail system is for workers, recreationalists, and students traveling between downtown Hillsboro and adjacent neighborhoods.
Tualatin SWCD continues to reach out to landowners along the Glencoe Swale corridor to offer planning and funding to complete the restoration. Through collaboration with willing landowners and community groups, Glencoe Swale is on its way to becoming a vibrant, wildlife corridor once again.