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Metro gears up to develop Chehalem Ridge Nature Park near Forest Grove

Metro is preparing to turn part of a wilderness area near Forest Grove into a nature park.

The park will be on Chehalem Ridge, a 1,250-acre piece of land the regional organization bought back in 2008. The proposed park is 15 minutes from downtown Forest Grove and includes "sweeping vistas of the Tualatin River Valley and Coast Range," according to Metro planners.

Metro officials are still finalizing a plan for how the nature park will look, but a spokesman said planners have been taking input from the community. The consensus appears to be preserving as much of the natural beauty as possible.

Restoration of the area started with thinning of trees in 2010 to allow sunlight to reach the understory. After removing invasive plants, workers planted native shrubs and plants. Three streams flow through the property on their way to the Tualatin River.

More than 6,000 people have commented on the plan for the park, which will be paid for from a 2006 parks and natural area bond measure and a 2013 levy.

“There was always a vision in this part of the region to develop a site where people could access nature close to home,” said Dan Moeller, conservation program director for Metro. “Specifically, in the plan, we left large patches of Chehalem Ridge undeveloped for wildlife and to protect clean water.”

Moeller says they want to develop a trail system, some shelters and a bit of parking to start.

The $3 million budget for development will cover the first phase, including parking, restrooms, shelters and much of the trail system. Moeller said the plan includes nine miles of trails.

It should have a final draft of its plan ready for public comment this summer, and if all goes well, Metro says it'll start developing the park in 2019.

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