Cheerleaders visit Tideman-Johnson to perk up the park

You’ll never guess how far away these nature-minded, energetic gals came to help spruce up this inner SE Portland natural park …

Terry Toedtemeier, volunteer and a homeowner near the park, gives the entrance a chain-saw manicure. “The brush trim is overdue!”

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The natural ravine along the Springwater Trail called Tideman-Johnson Park has come a long way since neighbors have adopted the area.

As we walk south on SE 37th Avenue from SE Tenino Street in late October and look down the hill, we’re surprised to see a large group of young ladies, rakes and shovels in hand, preening the hillside.

On the way down the steep access road, one of the workers explains, “This is what we like to do.”

Brittnee Gillson, a senior, and Allie Rastetter, were two of the many Lakeridge High School cheerleaders volunteering in October to help spruce up Tideman-Johnson Park.

She introduces herself as Allie Rastetter a senior Lakeridge High School Cheerleader. “We like to help our community. It seemed like a good idea for us to work together as a team. This is doing something we love.”

Marianne Colgrove, one of the Friends of Tideman-Johnson Park, is pleased with the progress. The Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association got a Community Watershed Stewardship Grant to help take care of this park, she reminds us.

Lots of help showed up – including the cheerleading squad from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego.

“We’re working with Mart Hughes of Portland Parks and Recreation,” Colgrove says. “Along with the Lakeridge Cheerleaders, we have neighborhood volunteers pulling ivy and spreading mulch. We’ll come back and plant in these areas in the winter and spring.”

Although Tideman-Johnson is categorized as a “natural park”, Calgrove says, “Most of what is growing here isn’t natural at all. It is invasive weeds and plants that don’t belong here. We’re working to restore the area to a natural state.”

Samantha Weinstein and Lindsay Mayer say they love working in nature.

How did they snag these energetic cheerleaders from Lake Oswego?

“I think the Parks Bureau is well connected,” Colgrove says with a knowing smile. “Their volunteer coordinator works with a lot of schools and community groups to provide volunteer opportunities for their participants. The ladies are all getting community service credit for being here today.”

Get dirty; dig in!
You can help improve this great little park in Ardenwald by volunteering on the fourth Saturday of each month, except Thanksgiving weekend. “We’re moving that work date back to December 1st,” Calgrove says.

For more information, check the neighborhood’s web site: www.ardenwald.org.

-5 Here’s the location of the park.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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