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Baltimore Woods is a green fringe of oak and maple trees towering over the neighborhood north of Cathedral Park, anchoring the Willamette bluff, standing as a buffer between riverside industry and downtown St. Johns residents, and providing shelter to native plants and animals. Friends of Baltimore Woods (FOBW) formed in 1998 as a group of neighbors who set out to protect this mature canopy cover between North Baltimore and Catlin streets from increasing pressure of development in the neighborhood.

BWmap2-791x1024Recognizing the vital importance of this upland deciduous habitat as a corridor connecting large green spaces of Willamette Cove, Smith and Bybee Lakes, and Kelley Point Park, FOBW embraces the challenge of removing invasive plants and restoring native trees and shrubs to this remnant Oregon White Oak habitat.

The Friends advocated for a trail alignment along unimproved Decatur Street, around the northernmost portion of the bluff, across Lombard Street and into Pier Park. This off-street alignment dovetails with the work of npGREENWAY in closing a critical gap in the Willamette Greenway trail and 40-Mile Loop that will provide a continuous natural trail experience.

As FOBW increases public awareness of this local asset, our work has expanded into Special Habitat designations for large parcels of the woods, a feasibility study for the Decatur trail alignment, and early restoration work on recently burned areas of Baltimore Woods.

FOBW seeks to preserve the Baltimore Woods not only for bicyclists, pedestrians and wildlife, but as an outdoor classroom for local schools. With views of Forest Park and the working harbor, the woods are perfectly situated as a learning laboratory to study watershed health at the intersection of urban and wild, residential and industrial ecosystems. Rich in local history, the woods is located at the heart of the original St. Johns land claim by the pioneer Loomis family in 1846, near the Native American and pioneer cemeteries and at the site where Lewis and Clark traveled through the area in 1806.

FOBW continues to build creative partnerships and winning solutions to ensure that local residents, trail users, students, and urban wildlife may continue to enjoy the scenic, environmental, and educational offerings of this woods as North Portland grows and changes.