Working Farm Achieves Common Goals

This 62-acre working farm south of Hillsboro on the Tualatin River is an excellent model of what’s possible when regional partners support common goals. Metro and Clean Water Services continue to share long-term stewardship responsibility for this property, including: agriculture, floodplain, backwater habitat and educational opportunities.

The Site

First planting: 2014
Size: 62 acres
Stream length: 2,794 feet
Total to date: 117,061 plants
Plant communities: Riparian Forest, Forested Wetland, Upland Forest, Wet Prairie, Emergent Marsh, Scrub Shrub


The Challenge

Once used primarily for agriculture and timber production, the site included an irrigation pond, agricultural fields, a noble fir tree plantation, a residence, and a few acres of habitat planted with a diversity of trees and shrubs. Overgrown with virtually no understory, the noble fir tree plantation required thinning and planting. While the upper fields were ideal for farming, the lower floodplain area was marred by agricultural run-off into the Tualatin River, invasive weeds along the riparian corridor, and overall poor quality habitat.


The Transformation


With a shared vision of building a community asset and a healthy watershed, Metro, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Clean Water Services allocated significant resources to improve The Farm. Metro and Clean Water Services also developed a Master Plan to guide improvements. Throughout the floodplain area, ecological enhancement efforts involved controlling the over-abundance of weeds, installing wood assemblages, and planting native woody and herbaceous vegetation. On other parts of the property, a native filter strip was installed adjacent to the agricultural fields. The noble fir plantation is undergoing conversion from a monoculture into a diverse upland forest to attract a greater variety of birds and wildlife species.

The site remains ideal for agricultural production; includes a thriving small-scale native plant nursery; offers Washington County youth an array of watershed-focused environmental programs; and serves as a Stream Operations Center for Clean Water Services to support conservation actions throughout the watershed.

47 native plant species
Plant cover change*

  • Native shrub/tree: -25%
  • Native herbaceous: +35%
  • Invasive: -13%

Figures measure increase/decrease since monitoring began in 2013. Shrub/tree and herbaceous cover are measured only in plant communities appropriate to those species.

Tualatin River Farm: In Motion