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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Stewardship Project Updates

Portland Parks and Recreation's 2016 POWELL BUTTE ECO-BLITZ!

The Powell Butte Eco-Blitz is part of a region wide, on-going Eco-Blitz Series to find and collect data on the Portland-Vancouver metro area’s wildlife. Portland Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Johnson Creek Watershed Council and National Park Service, is hosting a Portland based Eco-Blitz on Powell Butte. Scientists and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work together to compile a "snapshot" of ecodiversity in a one day event.

In this Eco-Blitz event, we will be conducting 3 different species surveys: Amphibians, Butterflies and Birds. Volunteers choose a time slot where they will go out in a group with an expert to conduct a survey to monitor their designated species. No experience is necessary and instruction will be facilitated day of event. This event is free and open to all ages. Volunteers should arrive at least 15 minutes before their chosen time slot.

All materials, snacks/drinks and instruction provided. Wear long thick pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Bring a water bottle, rain gear and sunhat. Restrooms available on site. 

Click here to register online now!

2014 was a Great Year for Portland's Natural Areas!

Our restoration projects, which benefit people, wildlife, and water quality, would not be possible without YOU!  In the past year, we have been lucky enough to have over 9,950 volunteers give over 49,000 volunteer hours to natural area projects around the city.  You can see a more detailed update by geographic area below.

Thank you to everyone who came out to volunteer with us this year!

People raking leaveswoman pulling weedschild pulling weedspeople pulling weeds

Westside 2014 Review by Mary Verrilli

Volunteers, school groups, partners, and friends groups worked tirelessly on many projects throughout the year. Slugs, salamanders, and spiders were discovered and explored while restoring our natural areas. Ivy piles were created from enthusiastic groups to get rid of this invasive plant. Citizens gathered across the Portland area for No Ivy Day and Parke Diem. Volunteers battled with blackberry, maintained and raked our trails, planted native plants and learned about the importance of protecting these beautiful natural areas in our city.

PP&R held Grand Openings in a few of our parks:

  • Marquam Nature Park opened 1.4 miles of news trails, three bridges and one boardwalk. Friends of Marquam, Friends of Terwilliger and Homestead Neighborhood Association work hard to help maintain trails, remove invasive species and plant native plants in this park.

  • PP&R, Metro, partners and neighbors gathered for the opening of the Stephens Creek Nature Park Raz-Baack Crossing. The newly installed path creates a more accessible north-south connection through the park.

  • PP&R and Friends of Terwilliger celebrated the opening of Eagle Point, the newest acquisition to Terwilliger Wildlands. This newly acquired property offers views of the city and Willamette River.

For the fiscal year 2013-14, the westside stewardship program:

  • Worked with more than 2,500 volunteers

  • Contributed more than 16,000 person hours to improvements in our natural areas

  • No Ivy Day celebrated its 11th annual event with more than 300 volunteers at 19 sites removing more than 74,000 sq. ft. of ivy

  • Volunteers installed the Marquam mosaic at the Marquam Nature Park shelter

ribbon cutting for new trailWoman planting a plantkids pull ivy

City Nature East Stewardship

Smiling 5th graders learning to identify and properly plant native trees and shrubs. Hardy volunteers cleaning up truckloads of litter and caring for native plants along the Springwater Corridor trail. Restoration event participants clearing invasive species from our natural areas. A volunteer butterfly surveyor documenting species on Powell Butte. These are just a few ways in which over 3000 community members spent over 17,400 hours connecting with their eastside natural areas this last year! CNE Stewardship forged a new partnership this year with the Centennial Transition Center, a program that serves students of different abilities as they transition to life after high school and become more integrated into the community through volunteering. CTC students participated in 8 events this year, with activities ranging from mentoring younger students to learning to recognize and care for planted native trees and shrubs.

group fo volunteers

City Nature East Stewardship CoordinatorSusan Hawes(left) with Centennial Transition Center students and chaperones. Photo by Jessie Schaeffer.

Willamette River Stewardship

2014 was a busy year on the river! Volunteers attended 131 restoration events in natural areas along the Willamette River and Columbia Slough this year; that’s over 10 events per month!  4,450 Portlanders dedicated 15,403 hours to keeping our natural areas clean, healthy and beautiful for people and wildlife.  One especially memorable event this year was a volunteer day in Columbia Children’s Arboretum with employees from Adidas, Widmer Brewing, the Timbers and the Blazers.  We had about 120 people in the park that day working to fix up trails, remove invasive weeds, maintain past projects, and more.  Even the Blazers Mascot, Blaze, stopped by for a visit!  It was a wonderful partnership that we hope to continue this year. Special thanks to SOLVE and Friends of Trees for partnering with us for this big event!

staff with blazers mascot

Blazers mascot, Blaze, visits Stewardship Coordinator, Marissa Dorais, in Columbia Children's Arboretum.


Volunteer, Chuck Page, Goes Above and Beyond for Springwater Trail

By Susan Hawes, PP&R Stewardship Coordinator

Chuck Page does a thankless job that most people wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole! But with his 3 foot "litter pick-up stick" and his passion, dedication and great attitude Chuck dives in weekly to patrol one of the more challenging sections of the Springwater Corridor trail. In his Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) hat and safety vest, Chuck picks up litter along this highly-used trail, between SE 82nd and the Gresham border. This area is beset with extreme management challenges for PP&R – City Nature East. Even with weekly visits by PP&R-CNE staff, Chuck still manages to pull out truckloads of trash from this area. Chuck has been actively volunteering with PP&R-CNE for many years and was also previously active as a volunteer in Gresham, completing similar work along the Gresham portion of the trail before he offered his volunteer services more “full time” to PP&R. Each week, Chuck spends approximately 25 hours on the trail and collects an average of 10 bags and an additional half-truckload of other items. After collecting the litter into bags (or loading TVs, shopping carts, chairs, tires or coolers full of questionable contents into his truck), Chuck even drives the debris to the appropriate dumpsite for disposal.

Chuck has even gone above and beyond to help us document how and when litter dumping is happening, using his observation and deduction skills to help us pin down recurrent dumping infractions and keeping track of the type of litter he is finding and the number of abandoned camps he is cleaning up. This has assisted PP&R with setting new policies regarding litter pick up and abandoned camp clean up. Chuck also acts as “eyes and ears” on the trail, informing us of possible dangerous situations, reporting illegal camping, dumping, vandalism, etc. We believe that Chuck’s presence on the trail greatly augments our PP&R presence by showing that volunteers and citizens, not just staff, care about this place. His presence shows the public that this trail is worth caring about, and his volunteer work helps us to ensure a safer, cleaner experience for trail users. As City Nature East Supervisor Lynn Barlow notes, “The job of picking up trash and litter along this regional trail is often a thankless job, but Chuck has been steadfast in his work and the City Nature East staff greatly appreciate his extraordinary efforts!” The PP&R City Nature Stewardship Program, trail users and (we’re sure) the animals that use the trail and the fish in Johnson Creek also sends you a big thanks, Chuck!

Marquam Nature Park New Trails Now Open

By Mary Verrilli, PP&R Stewardship Coordinator


Volunteer cuts ribbon for new trail

On June 7th, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) held a grand opening of the new trails in Marquam Park. Three trails, three bridges and one boardwalk are new features in PP&R Marquam Nature Park and are now open for use. The new 1.4 miles of trail have been designed to responsibly expand hiking options within the park while preserving the habitat and improving water quality by protecting streams and addressing erosion. Community members, friends groups, and partners gathered at the first bridge at the intersection of the Flicker Trail and Marquam trail. Metro Councilman Bob Stacey and Representative Patti Howard from Commissioner Fritz’s office spoke about the project and acknowledged the hard work that went into it and the recreation opportunities that the public can now enjoy.  Friends of Marquam, Friends of Terwilliger and Homestead Neighborhood Association, our active stewards of this park have worked hard to help maintain trails, remove invasive species and plant native plants in this park.

parks stewards stand together on new bridge


Adidas, Widmer, Timbers, Blazers, Friends of Trees, SOLVE, Oh My!

By Marissa Dorais, PP&R Stewardship Coordinator


On a warm July day, over 100 employees from Adidas, Widmer, the Blazers and the Timbers came out to volunteer in Columbia Children's Arboretum to maintain trails, care for the arboretum's many trees, and remove invasive weeds.  Their work resurfacing the walking trails will make for safer and more enjoyable strolls through the park and the removal of invasive weeds will help maintain quality wildlife habitat in the neighborhood.  The arboretum has always relied on the power of volunteers and community involvement throughout its history and it was wonderful to see so many community partners coming together to continue this legacy! Special thanks to Friends of Trees, POIC and SOLVE for their wonderful partnership in this park as well!

large group of volunteers gather in the park

Youth Conservation Crew No Ivy League is back working in our natural areas

By Mary Verrilli, PP&R Stewardship Coordinator

The No Ivy League has been tirelessly working on restoration projects in Portland Parks & Recreation natural areas. Eleven teens and three crew leader spend their days out in our natural areas working on removing invasive species, building cedar split rail fence, and maintaining native plants. This summer, so far they have installed 115 feet of split rail fence at Gabriel Park, removed over 40,000 square ft. of ivy and over 13,000 square ft. of other invasive plants such as blackberry, bind weed, cherry and thistle. The crew has had the chance to work with Robin Jensen of Friends of Marquam Nature Park, Robin Vesey and Anton Vetterlein of Friends of Terwilliger and April Fong of Portland Community Habitat Team at their stewardship site where they got a chance to learn more about their group and how they got to where they are now. The program is designed to teach job skills, professional development skills, environmental education while improving our parks and natural areas.  Their presence does not go unnoticed as users of the parks often thank them as they hike by.

No Ivy League members stand by tree covered in English Ivy



Marquam Mosaic Project Builds Community, Creates Public Art, and Enhances Park

By Robin Jensen, Friends of Marquam Nature Park

Full view of mosaic

The Marquam Mosaic was created as a participatory public art project led by renowned Portland artist Lynn Takata that involved over 400 people, including children, families, and adults, in making a 100' long mosaic for the Marquam Nature Park amphitheater located at SW Marquam Drive off SW Sam Jackson Blvd. The public was invited to create ceramic and mosaic art and poetry based on the native flora and fauna of Marquam Nature Park, at locations in southwest Portland. Over six months, workshops were held at the Hillsdale Library, Hopewell House, OHSU Farmer's Market, Terwilliger Plaza, Portland State University, Shriners Hospital for Children, Marquam Nature Park, St Thomas More School, and Ainsworth School. In August and September 2013 the public helped to install the artwork on the wall. The dedication celebration took place September 28 with about 100 people in attendance. A poem from the workshops was included in the mosaic and a 'chapbook' of poetry has been published and is available for sale on the Friends of Marquam Nature Park website.

In addition to a 2013 Project Grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), the mosaic is funded in part by the Bill Connor Memorial Fund of Friends of Marquam Nature Park and individual donations.

Friends of Marquam Nature Park is a community-based volunteer organization that works in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation and others to conserve, maintain and enhance the historical, natural, and recreational resources ofMarquamNaturePark, and to educate the public about the park’s unique natural and cultural history. The group helped to lead many of the mosaic workshops.

The Artist: Lynn Takata is an award-winning artist who is nationally known for creating participatory mosaics, sculpture, and murals. She involves families and neighborhoods to build tangible symbols of community pride in parks, community centers, zoos, and schools. She works with glass, concrete, ceramic, and stone and teaches art at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

The Poet: Edna Kovacs holds a Masters in Education with specific endorsement in Learning Disabilities and a PhD in Expressive Arts with a specialization in Multicultural Education. Edna is the author of five books on writing and poetry including her haiku chapbook, Mandalas, which won the Cicada Chapbook Award.


Close up of mosaic