Cleaning and planting: Johnson Creek Watershed volunteers celebrated

See why folks with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, including volunteers from outer East Portland, came together for this party …

Welcoming folks to the Johnson Creek Watershed Council Volunteer and Community Appreciation Party, with door prize tickets in hand, here’s JCWC AmeriCorps member Sima Seumalo.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Continuing their tradition, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) brought its many volunteers together for the annual Community Appreciation Party – this year, it was on Thursday, November 16th, in the Community hall of All Saints Episcopal Church in the Woodstock neighborhood.

The custom of hosting this party goes back to 2014, when volunteers presented to outgoing JCWC Executive Director Matt Clark a sendoff party – and, at the same time, reviewed their accomplishments of that year.

Guests waste no time stepping up to serve themselves at the buffet table.

Greeting all the volunteers is JCWC Program Manager Monica Hescheles.

After about 60 guests served themselves a buffet-style dinner from Cubo and bidding on raffle prizes, JCWC Program Manager Monica Hescheles began the program.

“Tonight is about honoring and celebrating the work of all of the volunteers,” Hescheles began. “After my first full year with the organization, I have to tell you I am so impressed with how much this community can accomplish in a year!”

Volunteers are rapt, as their mutual accomplishments are celebrated.

Statistically speaking, Hescheles listed off achievements:

  • 1,471 Volunteers turned out, and contributed 6,116.5 hours of work.
  • Volunteers planted 7,107 trees, shrubs, and forbs (herbaceous flowering plants).
  • The annual Johnson Creek Cleanup volunteers pulled out of the creek and disposed of 6.5 tons of trash, including shopping carts, mattresses, tires, tents, and even adult toys.
  • Held five community science programs including Powell Butte Prairie-Nesting Bird Surveys, Dragonfly and Damselfly surveys, Beaver Surveys, Salmon Surveys, and Amphibian Egg Mass surveys.


Interspersed with her introduction of JCWC staffers and Board Members, Hescheles stopped for door prize drawings. Volunteers were awarded for the hours each spent helping the JCWC.

Honored for 20 hours of volunteer service are Patricia Brent, Carole Miles, Barry Eichinger, Steve Smith and Bird Loukides.

40-50 hour service volunteers recognized are Izzy Sigrist, Cailin Warner, Julie Oatfield, Shirley Craddick, and Damon Schrosk.

For providing 50-100 hours of volunteerism to the JCWC, Timothy Crawley, Gail Chastain and Sara Volk receive honors.

Because they provided more than 100 hours of service, Mary Ann Schmidt and Marianne Colgrove of the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek neighborhood are recognized.

‘Fish are returning to the creek’

Multnomah County Department of Community Services Water Resources Specialist Roy Iwai talks about salmon returning to Johnson Creek.

Wrapping up the celebratory evening, Multnomah County Department of Community Services Water Resources Specialist Roy Iwai presented an illustrated talk. He told the group that his agency is seeing many more fish – especially coho salmon – thriving throughout the Johnson Creek stream system.

“Coho don’t need much, but they do need cool water – which is why it’s so important to preserve the small tributary stream in the upper watershed,” he told the group.

At the party, JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry spends a moment with volunteer Alvey Seeyouma.

After the festivities, JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry summarized his thoughts about the night for East Portland News. “We can only accomplish our stewardship and community science events with the hard work of volunteers; volunteers are the key to our success.

“We want to do what we can to thank them,” Newberry continued. “And, a celebration like our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner also lets them celebrate their successes with each other.”

Learn more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and how you can volunteer – perhaps this weekend – by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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