For those of us in the Portland area, we live in a big city that's blessed with natural diversity and beauty that you would be foolish not to experience and enjoy. For those of you who can't seem to get away, or who are reluctant to go very far away from town to enjoy your outdoor activities, I give you Oxbow Regional park.
Seeing as how Metro is a fairly unique governmental body in the United States, I would say this is a fairly unique park. It's a natural area and campground that is not administered by a county, state or federal agency, but by the local regional administrative body that also is responsible for the zoo, transit and growth management.
This park is only a few minutes from Gresham, Oregon, which is the eastern suburb of Portland, and minimarts are just minutes away. However drive a few miles past small suburban farm on Division blvd and the road turns left and dives down into the Sandy River valley and runs right into this park. The campground is similar to any full service campground you'll find on any state or federal forest campground, and it also has group areas, like the one our boy scout troop used.
All you need is a tent, sleeping bag, and preferably a sleeping pad. If you've always wanted to get out camping, this is a great way to start. Or just visit for the day, hike some of their many trails through natural forests and along the river.
Oh, yeah, and you'll probably see a bit of wildlife there too.