Partnership and Stewardship Bring Nature Back into the Backyard

Murrayhill, a residential area of South Beaverton, is home to the headwaters of Summer Creek. In an urban riparian forest embedded with popular trails and sidewalks, this restoration project demonstrates how collaboration and stewardship can bring Mother Nature back into the urban landscape and provide significant benefits for water quality, wildlife and the community. 

The Site

First planting:  2014
Size: 1  acre
Total to date:  300 plants


The Challenge

The Murrayhill project provides an opportunity for multiple organizations to collaborate for a common purpose: Enhancing stream and riparian health. All of the site property is privately owned, which requires an extra level of coordination and communication. Stakeholders include the Murrayhill Owners Association (MOA), Andover Apartments and the Murrayhill Recreation Association, as well as the owners of adjacent properties.

The majority of the upper project is dominated by large, mature trees, while the lower portions had been impacted heavily by invasive plants and trees. The project was largely funded by two grants from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, with additional support from the MOA, City of Beaverton, Tualatin River Watershed Council, Cascade Education Corps, and Clean Water Services.


The Transformation


With help from all the partners, and the work of hundreds of volunteers, this site has been transformed from a weedy patch of briars and thorns to a thriving, highly diverse riparian forest. Blackberry and other invasive species were removed and replaced with more than 5,000 native plants. These deep-rooted native plants stabilize the stream banks and shade the water. In doing so, they reduce stormwater runoff and stream bank erosion, cool the water, and provide habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. Restoration of the Summer Creek Headwaters has enhanced residents’ access to nature and provided them with the opportunity to witness wildlife in their own backyards. Additionally, the benefits provided at the site will positively impact downstream riparian areas and magnify the effects of restoration efforts at nearby sites such as Summer Lake Park and Dirksen Nature Park.