Powell Butte Trail volunteers get blisters, sweat – even true love

Discover the many reasons folks volunteer to work on a Saturday morning at this well-used trail …

A group of volunteers on the Powell Butte Trail check in with organizer Jeff Hough, City Nature Trail Technician from Portland Parks & Recreation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Before construction of the Portland Water Bureau new Reservoir II project began, most folks hiked Powell Butte starting from the upper north side parking lot, off SE Powell Boulevard.

But, with that access closed, hikers and mountain bikers now reach the open trails from SE 136th and Holgate Boulevard.

It was at this location where we found the February trail “work party”.

Along Powell Butte Trail, workers clean up this natural area.

“We’re out here monthly,” smiled Portland Parks & Recreation’s City Nature Trail Technician, Jeff Hough, while he was walking along this outer East Portland trail.

“The second Saturday of every month, we have volunteers out here doing restoration work on trails and in the natural area,” Hough told East Portland News. “We remove invasive species – and in this case also trash and old fencing – whatever we can do to improve the park.”

On that particular day, some twenty volunteers turned out, even though the weather was cool and cloudy, with a little drizzle.

“Volunteers are very important to our parks,” Hough explained. “Parks’ staff is unable to keep up with all the work that needs to be done. We rely pretty heavily on volunteers to help us out on projects.”

Woodstock’s Randall Magahay and Florence Dezeix still volunteer where they first met 15 years ago – working on the Powell Butte Trail.

Two of those volunteers were East Portland’s Randall Magahay and Florence Dezeix.

“I’ve been volunteering up here because I’m a member of the mountain biking community,” Magahay told East Portland News. “I met my lovely wife doing this volunteer work, on this trail!”

That was 15 years ago, almost to the month, Dezeix said. “I lived in Gresham then. It’s true; we met shoveling gravel for the City of Portland. Being a volunteer is a great way to meet good people.”

“It’s a nice day to get out and do a good bit for the Earth,” Magahay added. “And who knows who you might meet along the way?”

On a trail, high up on Powell Butte, more volunteers pull out trash and junk, helping to keep up this great natural area.

If you’re interested in volunteering on Powell Butte, or any of Portland’s other natural areas, who knows? You, too, may find true love.  At the very least, you’ll experience our great outdoors, and help preserve our natural resources.

For more information contact Stewardship Coordinator Susan Hawes at: susan.hawes@portlandoregon.gov (503) 823-6131.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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