Goats are used to remove invasive blackberries near the Sellwood BridgeWhen it came time to find a team of workers to remove a forest of thorny blackberry bushes along the river bank beneath the Sellwood Bridge, the County’s contractor knew just who to call. Goat Power is a company owned by a husband and wife who travel the Willamette Valley with a herd of 60 goats in a refurbished bus (yes, the kids ride the bus). For several weeks in 2016, the goats were set loose below the east end of the Sellwood Bridge. By the time they left town, the blackberry bushes were gone and the project had avoided using herbicides, which are harmful on the environment and some living organisms. 

“At first, we worried that the smell and noise of the herd might offend some of the bridge neighbors,” said Mike Pullen, who works with the public on the project for the county. “But the goats proved to be some of the most popular employees we have had on the project. Many residents came by to take photos of them at work.”

The City of Portland asked the County to clear the trail as part of the project that will replace the bridge. The goats are scheduled to return in the spring of 2017 to dine on any remaining blackberry vines. No kidding.