The planned regionally significant collector road through environmentally sensitive areas will create irreversible negative impacts. The City Councilors repeatedly have stated that they are not the ones who are going to be building the roads. However, they have created plans that enable developers to harm our community.

Designing a plan that allows developers to create a collector road with 8,600 cars a day, passing so close to the Tualatin River and through the Nature preserve, is simply unacceptable to the community, the environmental groups, and the people that recreate on the Tualatin River that value peace and tranquility.

What is The Bankston Nature Preserve?

The 12-acre Bankston Nature Preserve bordering the Tualatin River is a vital riparian zone protected by a conservation easement held by Columbia Land Trust.  See a video of the Preserve here.

Charlene Bankston wanted to protect 12 acres of her property for the wildlife because she loved the animals and wanted a place for them to be protected forever. In 2009 she gave up development rights to this part of her property by filing an easement with Washington County. 

The Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation district describes the importance of The Bankston Nature Preserve and the restoration efforts.  

Where is the Bankston Nature Preserve located?

The Bankston Nature Preserve forms a diverse wildlife corridor that is an important part of a larger effort to protect the Tualatin River and wildlife habitat which includes Metro’s Heritage Pine Natural Area, Metro’s Beef Bend Natural Area and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. It is part of a wildlife corridor that connects with the National Wildlife Refuge across the Tualatin and extends further upstream.

The map below shows the location of the Bankston Nature Preserve in relation to these other protected areas (look Here to find a map which shows the planned Fischer Road Extension going through the Bankston Nature Preserve):

What is so special about this 12 acres?

The Bankston Nature Preserve is being restored by the Tualatin Soil and Conservation District. See the effort described here. This work started in 2017 and is continuing. Invasive species have been removed and over 16,000 native plants have been planted. On March 8, 2023: 2000 trees and shrubs were planted, including about 200 native white oaks, Oregon grape, red-flowering currant, thimbleberry, Indian plum, spirea, snowberry and sumac.

What does the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Manager say about the value of the Bankston Nature Preserve?

If the southernmost route is chosen and implemented, the environmental impacts, and specifically the impacts to resources protected in perpetuity by the Refuge in context and responsibility to the Tualatin River watershed, would be significant.

Rebecca Chuck, Refuge Manager

Letter dated February 7, 2023

The Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District also describes how important this property is to the larger conservation effort:

Urban developments between Tigard, Sherwood, Tualatin, and King City now encroach upon the Bankston woods. Their property’s position along the river is adjacent to 1,500 acres of separate conservation areas. This location makes their land a vital, connective piece of natural space in a rapidly urbanizing landscape.

Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District

Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation website

Stephen F. Cook, Legal Counsel, Columbia Land Trust describes the conservation easement protection:

As you will recall, since 2009 a conservation easement held by Columbia Land Trust has conserved portions of the Bankston property, including the portion that would be impacted by the extension of Fischer Road. Columbia Land Trust has held and stewarded this conservation easement since 2011. The purpose of the conservation easement is to protect the important forested riparian habitat in this portion of the Tualatin River—habitat that extends onto other properties that would be impacted by an extension of Fischer Road via Alternatives 1, 2, and 3S. This easement prohibits activities on the property including roads, utilities, and other infrastructure to ensure that the land is conserved as habitat.

Columbia Land Trust and the landowner cannot voluntarily amend the easement to allow for the road crossing; the City would have to use its eminent domain power to take a portion of the land and the conservation easement.

Stephen F. Cook, Legal Counsel, Columbia Land Trust

Letter dated October 18, 2022

What does the Tualatin Riverkeepers Director say about King City’s expansion plans and the effect on the Tualatin River?

Tualatin Riverkeepers and our members support new housing in our region, but it must be done in a manner that protects wildlife corridors and recreation in our watershed.  We urge the King City Council to choose an alternative route.

Glenn Fee, Executive Director, Tualain Riverkeepers

Opinion Letter to Valley Times News, May 25, 2023

Tom Stibolt, Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex Board Member, asks that the health and resiliency of the Tualatin River and its tributaries take the forefront in the Master Plan:

We concur with other commenters that the five stream crossings should be avoided at all costs to avoid degrading aquatic and wildlife habitat. It should be noted that the river is home to numerous aquatic species including mussels, lamprey, and salmonids. Maintaining these crossings would be prohibitively expensive as the stream banks cut away beneath them, and environmental fines would follow. The City needs to devote as much consideration to environmental planning as it does to utilities and developer interests

Tom Stibolt, Board Member, Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Public Comment letter dated February 7, 2023

Tualatin Riverkeepers, 1000 Friends of Oregon and Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge summarize their concerns with the propsed road alternative (ie Fischer Road extension)

Public comment letter dated April 26, 2023

1000 Friends of Oregon encourages the City to further consider alternatives that were supported by technical advisory committees, stakeholder advisory committee members and community members:

Together, we can build resilient communities that coexist with the natural resources that surround them.

Brett Morgan, 1000 Friends of Oregon

Public comment dated June 13, 2023

Columbia Land Trusts comments related to rezoning the Bankston property to park/open spaces, and the damage that a road through the Bankston conservation easement would cause:

…rezoning the Bankston property as parks/open spaces is irrelevant and would not satisfy the Land Trust.

Columbia Land Trust is strongly and sincerely opposed to planning for running a road through the Bankston easement, because doing so would do serious harm to the conservation values the Land Trust conserves on the Bankston property, and to protection adn restoration of the Tualatin River, which for many years been a top priority of many government agencies anbd nonprofits working in the area, and not just the Land Trust.

Stephen Cool, General Council, Columbia Land Trust

Email to Planning Commission, April 19, 2023

Treekeepers of Washington County urges the City Council to select an alternative route:

Clearly, there is a great deal of opposition to the proposed Fischer Road extension from experts in their fields. There is a viable
alternative route and these many responders are consistent in recommending such an alternative.

Fran WarrenOn behalf of Treekeepers of Washington County

Public comment letter June 14, 2023

Tualatin Riverkeepers has been advising King City during the planning process, including two letters submitted for public comment.

TRK believes the road network will have challenges obtaining necessary Clean Water Act
permits and certifications; the plan currently ignores Metro’s condition regarding the Bankston
property’s conservation easement; it fails to comply with state land use goals, specifically regarding
public involvement, natural resources, and natural hazard zones; and the city is not being proactive
enough in preserving the cultural resources almost certainly located near the riverbank.

While these are all significant challenges, TRK has confidence in King City’s ability to consider and
address these challenges in an appropriate fashion. To reiterate these comments are meant in the spirit of
cooperation and as a follow up to the field trips and site visits by King City staff, Councilors, Mayor,
and consultants.

Ashley Short
Tualatin Riverkeeper & In-House Counsel

Public comment letter Sept 9, 2021

Public comment letter October 19, 2022

Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife asks for other viable road alternatives to be considered:

Any development on this site will likely result in a loss of fish and wildlife habitat and ODFW recommends
unavoidable negative impacts be mitigated consistent with current ODFW habitat mitigation
standards (OAR 635, Division 415).

Ariana Scipioni
Regional Habitat Biologist

Letter submitted for public testimony, June 14, 2023

More photos of the Bankston Nature Preserve

You can see from these photos the results of the restoration efforts that have happened – and will continue if King City does not interfere.

See more photos of the Bankston Nature Preserve.

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