Eric L. Lindstrom has published a book about a natural area that is dear to his heart. Fanno Creek runs through Tigard, Beaverton, and Portland, and within the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District you can visit many spots along the creek via the Fanno Creek Regional Trail. It is a great destination for viewing local wildlife, but, as Lindstrom tells in his book, the creek has an interesting history, and he shares his passion for being an advocate for a once very less-than-pristine creek on the outskirts of Portland.
Up Fanno Creek: Confessions of an Accidental Advocate, by Eric L. Lindstrom (Watershed Events/OnDemandBooks, 2012), 216 pp.
Up Fanno Creek chronicles the life and near-death of a small, urban stream in Portland, Oregon. “Drano Creek,”nearby neighbors once called it, and on hot summer days in the late 1960s you could sometimes smell it before you could see it. The once flourishing waterway was so filled with sewage, agricultural waste, and industrial pollutants that it was on the verge of extinction. It also posed a health risk so serious that it helped shut down all residential and commercial development in its area for almost a year. Like other urban streams around the country, Fanno Creek was temporarily saved from almost certain destruction by the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. Thanks to that law and the efforts of a growing army of wetland advocates, the creek has recovered significantly from the abuses of more than a century of mostly unchecked or poorly regulated land-use practices. Point-source pollution, once thought to pose the greatest threat to the creek’s biological survival, is now largely under control. But the long term outlook for Fanno Creek’s existence is anything but rosy, as Eric Lindstrom quickly learned when he set out to discover his personal Watershed Address. Up Fanno Creek tells his story as well, and in the process shows what it means to become a wetlands advocate—accidentally or not.