Posted by: pilgrm34 | July 20, 2011

nature reasserts itself

Wilderness destination: Willamette Cove is part of one of the last natural waterfronts left in Portland. The Cove was once covered with bustling industry, but abandoned in the mid-1900s due to a changing economy and pollution laws. Nature has begun to reclaim territory around abandoned parking lots, roads, skeletal remains of piers and chunks of demolished buildings. As I walk near the track, bird songs can be heard on all sides. Fuzzy parachute-like seeds drift lazily toward me and over a grassy field nearby.

abandoned parking lot and Willamette Cove

The path to the Cove winds around native oak, madrone, and cottonwood as well as blackberry and Scotch Broom. In spite of the metal clang of a train on a nearby trestle, a lean, reddish coyote stops to scrutinize me from a distance with wary intelligence. He turns and instantly dissolves into the tall straw-colored grass. A startled, large bird of prey abruptly but silently alights from a tree to my immediate right and glides several hundred feet across the Cove settling on branches high above the water.

Though an accident of changing economy and general real estate apathy, Willamette Cove has become a refuge for native plants and wildlife as well as a recreational destination for neighbors. It’s interesting that our neglect often benefits nature and ourselves.


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