Portland, OR. Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuary, adjacent to Forest Park, just grew by 22-acres thanks to a gift by businessman Marty Kehoe. At a ceremonial ivy-cutting on July 26th, Katherine, Shannon, Allison and Marty Kehoe were joined by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Audubon Executive Director Nick Hardigg. The property, previously slated for development and appraised at more than $14 million, will now be restored and protected, adding to the ecological value of Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuary and Forest Park. The Kehoe’s eldest daughter, Katherine Lynn advocated for the gift and the parcel will be named in her honor. “As a family, we talked a lot about this,” Marty Kehoe shared. “We loved the property and felt that it would make a wonderful gift – not only to the Portland Audubon, but as a permanent gift to the whole city.”

Marty, Allison, Katherine and Shannon Kehoe.

Portland Audubon’s first land acquisition was in 1929, when 12 acres of a former dairy farm were purchased with private funds. The following year, the Pittock family donated another 18 acres. Additional land protections occurred in 1982 (the 34-acre Uhtoff Sanctuary), 1983, and 2008 (the 86-acre Collins Sanctuary, owned by Metro and managed by Portland Audubon). This last gift of 22-acres from the Kehoe family brings the sanctuary to 172-acres.

The Kehoes decided to protect the land permanently by donating it to Portland Audubon — with the caveat that its remaining mortgage be paid off within the year. Bordering Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuary, the property is ecologically significant with the headwaters of Bones and Balch Creeks, wetlands, steep slopes and partially open canopy of both deciduous and coniferous trees. The property had long been seen by Portland Audubon as one of the largest, most ecologically valuable and at-risk parcels on the periphery of Forest Park.

“We’ve fought to protect lands like this for over a century, and felt development would eventually happen if we didn’t act.” said Portland Audubon Executive Director Nick Hardigg. “We also recognized that this would be one of the most valuable gifts to Portland Audubon ever— worth millions— and we are incredibly grateful to the Kehoe family.”

About Portland Audubon’s 172-Acre Wildlife Sanctuary:

Just 10 minutes from downtown Portland and free to the public, the 172-acre sanctuary is the perfect place for people of all ages to connect with nature. The public can visit the Wildlife Care Center, Nature Store, Interpretive Center, walk more than four miles of family-friendly trails to see old growth forest, a pond and streams, and take part in a multitude of educational classes and events. 40,000 people visit the wildlife sanctuary each year.