Thirty Years: From Hedges Creek Marsh - Statewide. TWC was formed 30 years ago when a small group of people become concerned about the future of a 3.5-acre portion of Hedges Creek Marsh in Tualatin, Oregon. What began as a grass-roots effort to preserve one local wetland has grown into a model of partnership, collaboration and community building to conserve wetlands throughout Oregon.
Althea Pratt-Broome and Jack Broome's dedication, enthusiasm and vision provided the foundation for one of Oregon's most remarkable stories of grassroots stewardship, bridge-building and preservation. Together they have inspired and motivated countless others and created a legacy of community stewardship for Oregon's wetlands.
Our story began in 1975 when Althea Pratt grew concerned over the filling of Hedges Creek Marsh in Tualatin, Oregon. The long-neglected marsh was slowly being eaten away by its growing industrial neighbors. Her passion attracted a growing number of others to the cause. Students designed and distributed posters. Volunteers conducted tours. Children dressed as wetland birds and animals and stood outside Tualatin stores and businesses with petitions to save the wetlands. Hundreds attended public meetings at the local elementary school as children, neighbors, community groups testified before the City Council supporting permanent protection of the marsh.
In 1979, the City of Tualatin, with the urging of Governor Robert Straub and Attorney General James Redden set aside 57 acres of Hedges Creek Marsh in a zone protected for wildlife and education. Soon after, Durametal donated a 1.2 acres to The Nature Conservancy followed by an 8-acre donation from Leanard Losli to the Oregon Parks Foundation.
The Wetlands Conservancy was incorporated as a land trust in 1981. The Hedges Creek Marsh acreage previously held by The Nature Conservancy and Oregon State Parks were transferred to The Wetlands Conservancy. In 1984, John and Dorothy Vitas donated 2.4 acres and became active volunteers.
Jack became the first Board president and, for nine years after his retirement from BOORA, served as a full-time volunteer. Jack remains an inspirational, detail-oriented and tenacious property steward today. Althea remains as an emeritus board director, providing passion, vision and soul.
Today, TWC’s constituency now spans the entire state of Oregon. TWC has protected more than 1,900 acres of wetlands in 31 preserves stretching from the Portland Metropolitan area to the southern Oregon Coast. Our partnerships and collaborations have grown from largely Portland metropolitan-based efforts to a growing number of joint ventures with coastal watershed councils, individual landowners, businesses, public agencies, land trusts, and other non-profits throughout the state. The Wetlands Conservancy is considered a model for many agencies, non-profits and land trust programs today..