Surprise Geyser and Amazing Volunteers Rush to Save the Day

By Andrine de la Rocha

Who expected that weaving 72 native willow saplings into a dome in the middle of Boise Eliot Native Grove might invoke such magic? But in early August a geyser gushed forth from the center of the Willow Dome, flooded the Fremont Bridge ramp and created a sinkhole that appeared beneath the leafy structure.

City crews were called to investigate and immediately opened nearby hydrants to stem the tide. Turns out it was a broken water main under the Grove. Crews isolated the pipe under the Willow Dome and stopped the flow. The sinkhole that formed inside the Dome was cordoned off with warning tape. Pipe repair was scheduled but threatened to destroy some of the plantings.

Fortunately, Grove volunteers from Bureau of Environmental Services, Xerces Society, Ivy School, and friends of the Boise Eliot Native Grove leaped into action, digging up dozens of Willow and Ninebark plantings to preserve them from the backhoe. Plants were stored in 20 buckets until the repair was completed, and another crew of hearty volunteers worked to replant them at the end of the month. Hurrah for Community! Also, a huge thank you to all our Watering Heroes and Willow Guardians this summer for keeping the Grove enchanting.

Volunteers Cynthia Plank, Jack
Lazerek, and Jenni & Katie from
Xerxes Society. Photo credit Colleen Mitchell, BES

Stay tuned at the Boise Eliot Native Grove website, Facebook, and Instagram about upcoming willow weaving and other marvelous events! http://www.nativegrovepdx.org

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