What began as a seed more than a century ago has come to be regarded as an iconic representation of the Overlook neighborhood. On the south end of Overlook Terrace an Oregon white oak tree grows undisturbed on pristine open space. Its panoramic view of the Willamette River above the train yards tells a living history. The land it occupies is the last undeveloped privately owned property along the bluff of the Willamette River.
This land sits adjacent to what remains of a forested riverbank on the Willamette’s east side. Its inhabitants include coyotes, deer, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, great horned owls, Vaux’s swifts and other migratory birds. If this land is developed the white oak savannah on the bluff in its natural state disappears. The oak and madrona trees that remain are part of an ecological corridor that stretches from Vancouver B.C. well into California.
What we live beside deserves an opportunity to thrive. By replacing invasive clematis, Himalayan blackberry, and ivy with sword ferns, snowberry bushes, and mahonia (Oregon grape) we can stabilize the slope and give it time to regain its health. When the health of the slope improves, the watershed affecting the Willamette River improves.
It is time to demonstrate to the city that keeping this land is irreplaceable, and as such, a priority to our neighborhood. While the Interstate corridor is being developed to maximum capacity, our neighborhood deserves the balance of green space that this property offers.