‘Planting Party’ wraps up successful I-205 ‘greening’ season

Learn who came out to a cooperative effort that aims to line the I-205 Multi-Use Path with lots of foliage – and find out why so many volunteers are pitching in to help …

Taking a break from teaching and planting are volunteers Ryan Byers and Mercedes Rios-Murphy, along with Friends of Trees Neighborhood Initiative “point person” Kris Day, and Crew Leader David Pell.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On Earth Day, politicos such as State Attorney General John Kroger and Metro Council President Tom Hughes rolled up their sleeves and joined more than 100 volunteers in planting 170 trees along the I-205 Multi-Use Path.

The project – a joint effort by Friends of Trees and the Oregon Department of Transportation – concluded the second season of a three-year community effort to “green” the 16.5-mile path, on April 23.

Volunteers Nichole Rogovoy and Mara Richardson plant trees that will someday shade the I-205 Multi-Use Path, retain stormwater runoff, and help clean the air.

Teri Ruch, the Communications Manager for Friends of trees, reminded us that we’d previously covered the planting season’s kick-off.

> CLICK HERE to view that story.

“In the first year, we planted 2,405 trees along the freeway,” Ruch told us. “We don’t have the exact figures yet for this season, but we estimate there are now about 4,000 new trees growing along the Multi-Use path.”

Friends of Trees’ Communication Manager Teri Ruch gets together with project volunteer Lore Wintergreen, Advocate for the  East Portland Action Plan, and ODOT Region 1 Communications Manager Shelli Romero.

Ruch said, about the project, “This greening project will enhance the experience of all who use the path, while it reduces air pollution, increases neighborhood livability, provides habitat for songbirds, and beautifies the transportation corridor.”

Shelli Romero, ODOT Region 1 Communications Manager, chimed in, “This is an important project for us as a State agency. We find our partnership with Friends of Trees, Metro, and other partners, to be enriching and positive.”

Adding eye appeal is only one reason why ODOT values the project, Romero added. “We are also making livability and infrastructure improvements here in outer East Portland to encourage green transportation, positive things for the environment, and equity.”

By staking and mulching newly-planted trees, volunteers assure they’ll thrive and grow.

Although the “planting season” has come to an end this year, Ruch said, there are still many volunteer opportunities at Friends of Trees throughout the year.

To see their Internet site, CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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