Johnson Creek is the only free-flowing creek system on the east side of Portland, Oregon. It starts in the hills above Boring, Oregon, 24 miles from its confluence with the Willamette. It is spring fed and so, unlike other watersheds on the eastside of Portland, Johnson Creek is unaffected by snow melt from Mt. Hood.
Until recently Johnson Creek was much maligned or ignored. Associated with flooding and pollution problems there were few people who saw its potential as an amenity for the urban and suburban areas it passes through. But watershed activists like Steve Johnson have struggled for twenty years to raise community awareness of the important role that Johnson Creek plays in preserving fish and wildlife habitat as well as its potential for providing a wild respite for urban dwellers to enjoy and learn about nature.