Balch Creek

Balch Creek is a 3.5-mile tributary of the Willamette River in the U.S. state of Oregon. Danford Balch, after whom the creek is named, settled a land claim along the creek in the mid-19th century. After murdering his son-in-law, he became the first person legally hanged in Oregon.

About Balch Creek in brief

Summary Balch CreekBalch Creek is a 3.5-mile tributary of the Willamette River in the U.S. state of Oregon. It begins at the crest of the Tualatin Mountains in unincorporated Multnomah County and flows through Forest Park, a large municipal park in Portland. At the lower end of the park, the stream enters a pipe and remains underground until reaching the river. Danford Balch, after whom the creek is named, settled a land claim along the creek in the mid-19th century. After murdering his son-in-law, he became the first person legally hanged in Oregon. The creek drops from 1,116 feet above sea level at its source to 46 feet at its mouth, a total of 1,070 feet. Most of this occurs in the first 2.5 miles. In the hills, the creek gradient generally ranges from 15 to 30 percent interspersed with sections of less than 15 percent along the middle reaches. Sixty-two species of mammals and more than 112 species of birds use Forest Park. A small population of coastal cutthroat trout resides in the stream, which in 2005 was the only major water body in Portland that met state standards for bacteria, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. In 2001 the Portland City Council declared the site to be an “industrial sanctuary”. The highest flow during the spring and summer depended partly on the weather; the largest flows during autumn were close to zero until late November. The water empties into the Will amet river in the city’s Northwest Industrial neighborhood at Outfall 17.

About 10 miles below this outfall, the willamette enters the Columbia River. The upper part of the watershed includes private residential land, the Audubon Society of Portland nature sanctuary, and part of Forest Park; the lower part includes historic Guild’s Lake and industrial sites. In 2005, the Bureau of Environmental Services of the city of Portland monitored the flow of Balch Creek from June 1996 through September 2002 at a site, Node ABB857, where the stream leaves the stream surface and enters a storm sewer in Macleay Park. The average summer flow was 0. 0 cubic feet per second, with a minimum of 0. 9 cubic feetper second and a maximum of 60 cubic feet in winter. In the winter, the average flow in winter was 1. 73 cubic feet a second, with a maximum flow of 73 cubic Feet per second during an individual autumn, during late August to late December. The flow through the spring is about 2.2 cubic feet, starting at about 5 cubic feet and dwindling to 0.5 cubic feet by early June and dwindling by early early June by June and early June. It empties into the river about 2 miles from the mouth, about 10 miles from where it enters the city and theAudubon society of Portland simultaneously. It flows generally east about 3. 5 miles to its confluence with the WillAmet River.