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Parks in Tigard

Dirksen Nature Park

Dirksen Nature Park Construction 

  • Fanno Creek Trail will be closed through Dirksen Nature Park starting August 6, 2018. Portions of the trail from Tigard Street to Tiedeman Avenue are expected to remain closed for fifteen weeks. View a trail closure map and detour route.
  • Interpretive Shelter, Restroom and Nature Play Project
    Starting in July, construction will begin on new and exciting features in Dirksen Nature Park. The 1,600 square foot shelter with restrooms will be sited between two nature play areas, serving as the central hub for the nature park. Current project details...

Oak Savanna Overlook Complete 

Construction has been completed on a new oak savanna overlook and wetland boardwalk at Dirksen Nature Park.

  • The oak savanna overlook provides seating to view wildlife and to enjoy the establishing prairie restoration.  Hidden around the overlook will be bronze depictions of different animals that live in Oregon’s oak savannas. 
  • A wetland boardwalk reaches into a stunning forested wetland hidden in the center of the nature park. Although the site is dry during summer months, winter brings a wet bayou-like setting where tall trees reflect in the water below. The boardwalk allows park visitors to get a close-up look at the trees and to enjoy this unusual setting, all without getting wet!

Camas at Dirksen Nature Park
Camas is a culturally important plant for northwest native tribes and is a beautiful oak savannah flower. Over 30,000 Camas bulbs were planted in Dirksen Nature Park in 2015 and bloomed for the first time in 2017.  In addition, restoration specialists were caught by surprise when a large bloom of native bulbs emerged that were lying dormant and had been out-competed by non-native pasture grass.   

Dirksen camas bloom

Oak Savanna Restoration Project
Throughout the summer, the city’s contractor will clear areas around native oak trees and will remove/spray invasive trees and other non-native vegetation. Later in the year, native plants will be installed.

Dirksen Nature Park contains seven distinct Northwest ecosystems.  They include Oak Savanna, Forested Wetland, Coniferous Forest, Mixed Deciduous Forest, Ash Forest Riparian Forest, Emergent Wetland, Scrub Shrub Wetland

Environmental Benefits of the Restoration Project

  • Less than 2 percent of historic oak savanna habitat remains in the Willamette Valley. Restoring this remnant oak savanna will provide an opportunity for park visitors to view this important historic landscape.
  • Thinning allows mature oaks to expand their crowns and produce more acorns, which provide food for wildlife. More tree cavities are formed in oaks with larger crowns. The cavities serve as homes for squirrels, birds and insects.
  • This project will restore habitat for wildlife species like the western gray squirrel, white-breasted nuthatch and the acorn woodpecker.  All use the grasslands and oaks of the savanna for food, cover and nesting.
  • Thinning the savanna increases light to the forest floor, increasing growth of native flowering plants and benefitting pollinators like native bees and butterflies.

Educational Benefits of the Project
Tigard partnered with Tualatin Riverkeepers and Fowler Middle School. These organizations provide tours and hands-on nature access to over 2000 children per year.  A restored savanna will allow children to view the area’s native oaks, wild lilies and the creatures that this habitat supports.
What to Expect in an Oak Savanna Restoration
First, invasive and non-native plants, like English Hawthorn trees and turf and farm grasses, will be removed or eradicated.  Removing these trees will create a more open area.  Oak savanna restoration specialists will spray non-native grasses with a targeted herbicide a few times a year for the next several years. This work:

  • Ensures native plants have time to become established without competition.
  • Promotes wide, spacious growth habits and greater acorn production among the large, existing Oregon White Oak trees at the site. 

In the fall, planting will begin in the savanna. The English Hawthorn trees will be replaced with native Black Hawthorn trees around the perimeter of the site. Native lilies, like Camas and Oregon Iris, will be planted.  Dense sections of native grasses will be installed, making it harder for non-native plants to become established. Shrubs and Oregon White Oak trees will be planted in phases over the next three winters.

The site will be carefully monitored by a specialized re-forestation contractor through 2019.

Dirksen Nature Park Overview

In 2010, the city purchased a 48-acre property near Fowler Middle School. The property is to become Tigard's second largest park and offers a mix of mature forest, wetlands, and open space. The area is home to turtles, frogs, salamanders, red-tailed hawks, owls and herons.

The park is bordered by Fowler Middle School to the south, Tiedeman Avenue to the east, and Tigard Street to the north. Fanno Creek and its tributary, Summer Creek, flow through the site, which serves as an outdoor classroom for environmental education.

The park was named in honor of former mayor Craig Dirksen who was a proponent for the acquisition of park land and open space.

Initial improvements, including upgrades to the existing education building and construction of a picnic shelter, restroom, and trails, will be underway in 2015. Long-term plans for park development include street and ball field improvements, additional trails, and natural play areas.
Features & Highlights:

  • Ball field rentals
  • Natural area
  • Education building
  • Outdoor fitness equipment

2013 Preliminary Plans for Dirksen Nature Park

The City of Tigard's Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) recommended the adoption of the conceptual master plan for Dirksen Nature Park (formerly the Summer Creek property) in 2012. 
Public Works Dept. | 503-718-2591
11130 SW Tiedeman Avenue

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