Rake and Plant Day on November 2

Mr. Rogers would have been pleased. November 23 was a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” as a group of enthusiastic rakers and weeders spent a couple of hours working together and getting to know one another at Wilshire Park. The excuse for the event was the need to weed the NatureSpace to help its array of barely year old native plants get established without competition, but first the carpet of fallen leaves needed removal to reveal the interlopers. Several hundred – possibly thousands – of baby Douglas Firs and Oaks were removed from the fertile, hospitable soil by the energetic crew. That was important but an equally valuable function was the opportunity for public-spirited individuals to chat and get to know each other and for oldsters to model community volunteerism for the upcoming generation.

Workers ranged in age from preschoolers to others well past retirement and there because they’d read about the event in the previous edition of the BWNA newsletter, seen it publicized on the Beaumont NextDoor website, gotten a Friends of Wilshire Park e-mail or heard about it through Quiet Clean PDX – a group devoted to replacing the health and environmental hazards of two cycle, gas guzzling, noisome yard maintenance equipment with cleaner quieter alternatives. This work wasn’t powered by fossil fuels. Instead it was fueled by an offering of delicious breads and pastries donated by Grand Central Bakery !

Of course that’s not all that’s happening at the park. The campaign to raise funds to replace the playhouse still has a way to go to reach its goal. Given the number of youngsters using that playground there should be little difficulty getting there. Checks (which are tax deductible and should say “For Wilshire Park Playground” on the memo line) can be sent directly to Central Northeast Neighbors 4415 NE 87th Ave, Portland, OR 97220.

Finally, conversations continue with PP&R about water and more fencing at the off-leash dog area. FoWP member Audene Walraven kicked off the fundraising for that initiative with a wonderful piano recital of show tunes and classical pieces at her home in early November. There’s no shortage of talent in the neighborhood! All other ideas about how to fund park improvements will be enthusiastically received.

Volunteer Opportunity this Saturday

At last night’s meeting, we had the chance to speak with Mike Grosso, the Parks Maintenance Supervisor. In addition to our big, exciting projects such as the NatureSpace and the replacement of equipment in the toddler play area, Friends of Wilshire Park also want to do a series of small, simple service projects that can quickly fix problems. This will provide members of the community with the chance to put their gloves on, gather together, and do some good. Mike told us that while wood chips were recently delivered and spread at various areas around the park, many of the piles were still too high and some of the wood chips are still in large, hard chunks that need to be broken apart to make them safe to walk and run on. Mike currently doesn’t have any staff hours to allocate to smoothing out the bark chips.

We can do that!

The first Friends of Wilshire Parks service project will happen this Saturday from 9 to 11 AM. Volunteers should wear good gardening gloves and protection from whatever weather Portland decides to offer up that day. Participants should also bring water. All ages are welcome, but parents will need to supervise their own young children.

To spread out the chips, you’ll need your hands and a hard tined rake like this:

Do not bring a soft-tined rake that you would use for leaves, as the wood chips are too heavy and will damage your rake. If you don’t have a rake, come anyway and wear some heavy gloves as many of the chunks of wood chips can be broken up by hand.

We will meet at the northeast corner of the park, right by the sign that says Wilshire Park. Volunteers who wish to log hours for community service credit can receive a signed form from a Friends of Wilshire Park board member. If you wish to participate, please e-mail [email protected] to let us know you’re coming. See you there!