Portland rallies to save osprey nest


by Pat Dooris, KGW News


Posted on April 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 7 at 4:06 PM

PORTLAND - On the KGW-Audubon Osprey cam, you can see the adult pair who returned just two weeks ago to Portland’s South Waterfront area after their long migration to the south.

This is the fifth year these two birds have returned to their nest which is located in a vacant field just north of the Meriwether condo high rise tower. You can feel the love for nature here. Just ask the neighbors.

“The main thing for the people in the Meriwether, the main thing is that the birds are happy,” said resident Jim Luke. “If the birds are happy, we're happy," he said.

The bird's were not in a happy place five years ago. They built a massive nest near the west side of the Ross Island bridge at the very top of a high power electrical transmission tower. Branches from the nest fell and damaged sensitive equipment. Workers took it down.

Barge maker Zidell Marine, right next door, built a tower to hold the nest but two years later it had to be taken down too.

Retired surveyor Jim Luke, a Meriwether resident, helped navigate red tape and competing interests to get the tower moved to its present spot. It was not easy.

“Ah, it's always a little bit difficult,” he said.

But they got it done. Roger Goldingay, also a Meriwether resident, says he helped convince Zidell to give the neighbors the tower and move it.

“We think that the osprey has picked us. So we've tried to be hospitable to the osprey. And it’s just a remarkable feature of urban wildlife renewal," he said.

On the 16th floor of the Meriwether the actual web camera points down at the osprey nest. “That's a pretty nice view,” a visitor said. “Oh, isn’t it gorgeous?" asks retired teacher Ann McMahon.

She lives on the 5th floor but convinced a friend on the 16th floor to install the new osprey camera.

“You can see right to the top of the nest here," she said pointing. The retired teacher loves the educational experience. “Well I just think this is a wonderful opportunity for everybody. You know my grand children, other people's grand children, kids from all over, adults, people my age to have an opportunity to see the osprey first-hand,” she said.

Bob Sallinger from the Audubon Society of Portland says there is indeed lots to learn from the osprey. And, Sallinger says, since they are living among us, you can meet them yourself.

“The big thing is watch them on TV and then get out and see them in person,” Sallinger said.