Last month, St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church took the first big step in its effort to reduce recurrent flooding of its church building. Kicking off a project funded by BES’ Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP), more than 50 volunteers from the church, Depave, Green Lents, and Johnson Creek Watershed Council smashed and removed 2,400 square feet of asphalt (at least 30 tons) from the church’s parking lot. More photos can be found on Depave’s website.
The ‘depaved’ portion of the parking lot will be further excavated and converted to bioswales – depressed areas with high-quality soil and native plants – that will soak up stormwater from the remaining paved surface. When completed later this fall, the project is expected to alleviate St. Mary’s ongoing flooding issues while improving water quality in Johnson Creek, which runs adjacent to the church’s property in Southeast Portland.
Volunteers were served a delicious Ethiopian lunch cooked by church members. In addition to the CWSP grant, funds were raised at a traditional Ethiopian dinner at the church this past June.
Volunteers are needed to help plant the bioswales on Saturday, October 26, from 10am - 2pm. To register, contact Johnson Creek Watershed Council Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Amy Lodholz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Community Watershed Stewardship Program awards grants of up to $10,000 for projects that improve neighborhoods and communities while also caring for Portland’s watersheds. Other projects that can be funded include neighborhood livability improvements, playground improvements, youth summer programs, and community gardens. For more information, visit the CWSP webpage.