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

Diversity Community Gardening Co-Op at St Philip the Deacon Church

By Shireen Hasan

Gardening at St. Philip the Deacon Church is in swing. People walking by are stopping to take a peek at what is going on behind this historic church. Community volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to bring this amazing opportunity into fruition for the community; from planting seeds and starters, native plants, flowers, and watering, to laying bark chips, soil/compost, and building. Thank you to all the community participants, local residents of Eliot neighborhood, church members, and local organizations who have supported this initiative by donating hoses, plants, compost, starters, and other resources, supplies, and also monetary contributions to grow the community gardening initiative to feed the community!  Special thanks to Bellagio’s Pizza for donating massive amounts of delicious pizza to our garden party held on May 4, 2019! My stomach still hurts!

The team has so far built several garden beds for diverse community participation (African Americans, houseless, veterans, church members, youth, and low-income individuals). 

Work is being done around the church property to beautify the environment and ‘raise the vibration’. The Co-op is in conversation with Zenger Farms to bring in their farm’s extra harvest to allow folks complimentary access to healthy fruits, and vegetables at the church location. 

The initiative had suffered some setback and in moving forward to overcome a few barriers we are asking for the community’s continued support, contributions, and labor assistance to build an accessible garden bed for folks with disabilities who otherwise would not have access to gardening opportunities. 

We are also asking for a donation of a nice bench for the upcoming meditation area that will be designed for the church. In addition, we are looking for experienced or well-versed African American artists to work in collaboration with Reverend Maria, and current member artist, Su(e) Diyg, to preserve the memory of North/Northeast Portland’s African American diaspora by creating visual art for all to see and remember. 

Come join in with gardening fun, starting every Saturday in July from 11AM-1PM to continue the expansion of community gardening to feed the community and to add a nice, new makeover to the church grounds in the months to come!  

For more information email the coordinator, Shireen: at shihas_2005 at yahoo dot com.

Bountiful Produce and Community at Albina Cooperative Garden

By Kat Severi

A close up image of a bee on a yellow sunflower next to a green leaf

It’s summertime now and the gardens are thriving here at Albina Cooperative Garden! We are a community based, urban farm located in the Eliot neighborhood on the corner of Russell Street and Vancouver Avenue. This large, organic gardening project produces impressive amounts of delicious produce every season here in the heart of NE Portland. 

The flowers in our pollinator garden are in full bloom and the bees are doing their work, lettuce, chard, and arugula are fresh as can be, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil plants are looking fantastic. We are so busy this time of year with crops growing bigger every day and even new seeds are being sown for the fall and winter harvest. Come by and say hello, we are often out in the sun (or rain), cultivating the soil that borders Legacy Emanuel Hospital who gifted this land to the Eliot neighborhood many years ago. Take a stroll through our thriving garden spaces, try a taste of some fresh sugar snap peas, bush beans, sweet peppers or luscious strawberries, maybe relax in the orchard and listen to the sounds of the many creatures that live here, bumblebees, butterfly wings, and bird songs.

Our members maintain this land for growing food and creating a living, green space in the center of the city. We educate citizens on sustainability and organic urban food production, we come together as a cooperative organization to share those values with our Eliot neighbors and our greater Portland community. 

Interested in membership? All are welcome to share in the year-round bounty in trade for satisfying work and a small annual membership fee. Eliot neighbors that need financial assistance are welcome to join us through a generous scholarship fund gifted to you, the community by the Eliot Neighborhood Association, please do email us for the application at albinacooperativegarden at gmail dot com

Visit our Instagram @albinacooperativegarden and Facebook page Albina Cooperative Garden for our garden events, membership signup or to find out how you can join the next Saturday work party.

Legacy Receives Highest Honor for Therapeutic Garden Design

By Vicki Guinn

At the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, November 12, representatives of Legacy Health and landscape architect Quatrefoil, Inc., received The Center for Health Design’s Evidence-Based Design Touchstone Award Platinum – the highest level – for the Evidence-Based Design (EBD) and Evaluation of the second-floor terrace garden at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

Continue reading Legacy Receives Highest Honor for Therapeutic Garden Design

Some Things to Do In and Around Portland

By Shireen Hasan

Are you looking for places to go or activities to do in and around Portland? Here are a few ideas:

1) MudBone Grown LLC farms, an African-American run farm growing food for the community, is located at 7900 NE 33rd Dr., in Portland. Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to participate. Children, elders, youth, and families can help with planting and general farming for the next upcoming season working with Shantae Johnson and Arthur Shavers – the king and queen of this operation. Contact the Oregon Food Bank email volunteer@oregonfoodbank.org to sign up. Visit http://www.mudbonegrown.com.

Continue reading Some Things to Do In and Around Portland

What a Great Difference a Year Makes

In under a year, Boise Eliot Native Grove has transformed a grassy dumping ground into a thriving native pollinator habitat and education space. Located on N. Ivy St. north of the Fremont Bridge ramp, the Grove is now planted with over 500 plants representing 40+ species of native plants and 9 species of trees, along with logs, stumps, snags, boulders, educational species signs & interpretive signs featuring English, Latin & Chinuk Wawa plant names.

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Introducing…The Boise Eliot Native Grove

Andrine de la Roch and Howard Paterson in front of sign
Andrine de la Roch and Howard Paterson, founders of the new Boise Eliot Native Grove

The Boise Eliot Native Grove on N Ivy St. is transforming an unimproved right-of-way into a native plant and pollinator grove. Situated just to the north of the Fremont Bridge ramp, the land is owned by Portland Bureau of Transportation but cannot be developed due to a number of utilities running underneath.

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Albina Cooperative Garden Seeks New Members

Albina Cooperative Garden

Community gardens and cooperative gardens, despite sounding like they offer the same service, differ in essential ways. Community gardens rent plots of land to individuals and those individuals tend to their plot and only to their plot. In a cooperative garden, members share the plots. That means making decisions, planting, and harvesting food together.

Continue reading Albina Cooperative Garden Seeks New Members

Photo Contest Winner

Harvest from Garlington Wellness Garden
Harvest from Garlington Wellness Garden

Congratulations to Ashley Berry, the winner of the fall photo contest! These were all taken at the Garlington Wellness Garden, which is adjacent to NE Morris St. and MLK Jr. Blvd, in the Garlington Center. They are very proud of the harvests this year and are happy to be a part of the neighborhood!

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Growing Food and Community

Eliot is home to two cooperative gardens offering opportunities to learn how to grow amazing produce, meet wonderful neighbors, reap the benefits of the harvest, as well as give back to your neighbors in need. Unlike community gardens, where everyone has separate plots which are rented for a fee and planted, tended and harvested by the individual gardener, in cooperative gardens members make decisions, work, plant and harvest together.

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10 Ways to Save Water this Summer

By Lindsey Berman

Water LossLandscapes add value, beauty and livability to our homes. With water use often doubling in the dry summer months due to outdoor watering, lawns and gardens also offer great potential to save time, money and water by making simple waterwise improvements.

In the Portland area, we receive 90 percent of our rainfall October through May. That means we use the most water during the very same months that we get the least rain. Being efficient with your water use makes sound economic and environmental sense, and helps our region meet its long-term water supply needs.

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Wireworms – Bad for Your Garden

Wireworms are BAD for your garden.
Wireworms are BAD for your garden.

You have probably heard “The Joy of Gardening” in radio and TV commercials for a local department store or seen the book by the same name.  Sometimes, I question that joy! I tell myself “gardening IS fun and rewarding.” However there is also that constant war of you versus what seems like everything else trying to destroy your garden.  Between the dog digging, the chickens scratching, aphids eating, squirrels burying, and mother nature’s unpredictable weather there are challenges.  A few years ago I discovered yet another big enemy – the wireworm.

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Tips for waterwise gardening

By Rose Kelsch

WaterGaugeKit
Water Gauge Kit

One of the things that makes Eliot such a great place to live is our beautiful lawns and gardens. Local residents also have a strong commitment to preserving the community’s natural resources, and we frequently hear from Eliot gardeners who are looking for new and better ways to save water while keeping their gardens green and healthy in the dry summer months.

Good news: the Regional Water Providers Consortium has some great free resources to help Eliot residents do just that.

Continue reading Tips for waterwise gardening