Completion of Lents Park ‘Nature Patch’ delayed

UPDATED: All done now, folks … See how the effort got off to a good start, several weeks ago, as scores of volunteers pitched in to help this outer East Portland park …

Many helping hands helped the planting go quickly in Lents Park, at the new “Nature Patch” area.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

This story, which began on February 1 along the south end of Lents Park bordered by SE Steele Street, was originally to end with a celebration on April 4 – as volunteers completed the new “Nature Spot” at that location.

The April work party and celebration was called off, due to COVID-19 Coronavirus concerns by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and nonprofit partner Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC). When they will be rescheduled to complete the project is unclear.

But, back on February 1 – although it was a drizzly, dark, gray-skied morning – more than 120 volunteers turned out for the first part of the project, starting near the new Lents Park Playground, and working west from there.

Showing one of the many native plants about to be installed, here’s PP&R Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative Program Coordinator Eric Rosewall.

“It’s good to see so many volunteers here; we had a lot of people signed up, but even more turned up to help us here, in the our newest ‘Nature Patch’, along south end of Lents Park,” smiled PP&R Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative Program Coordinator Eric Rosewall.

“Together, we’re putting in 1,500 native and pollinator-pleasing plants to complete the first half of this ‘Nature Patch’ project,” Rosewall told East Portland News.

Ready to plant is volunteer Ross Moran, with his young helpers Philo and Francis.

Working up the slope near the playground, dozens of volunteers install new plants.

A “Nature Patch” transforms underutilized portions of PP&R’s developed parks in the city, by adding natural themed garden spaces. “They feature rocks and boulders, logs, and a really awesome assortment of native plants and unique flowering plants that are just great for the pollinators that help our native be populations, migrating birds, and urban wildlife,” Rosewall said.

“At about an acre, spread along the south end of the park, it’s one of the largest ones that we’ve done so far out of the six ‘Nature Patch’ projects,” commented Rosewall.

Busy planting is JCWC Volunteer Crew Leader Celsie Reinier busy planning.

Rosewall asked us to mention that the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Green Lents are also partners in the project. We’re happy to do so! And we look forward to the eventual conclusion and celebration.

Shortly after publishing this article, PP&R spokesperson Mark Ross notified East Portland News that the project had already been completed.

“In terms of the PP&R stewardship program, in order to respect the Governor’s indefinite Stay-at-Home order, we cancelled all events – including public stewardship events through April 28th (which has since been extended to June 6th),” Ross said. “However, we still had plants that needed to get into the ground ASAP!” he added.


  • because people are still allowed to go to work under the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order…
  • and because our supervisor asked that we keep all staff work events to under 8 people…
  • and because our staff is currently limited and stretched thin…
  • and because the staff of our partner organizations are also still going to work…
  • we (quickly!) arranged for a few staff of our partner organizations to join a few PP&R staff to help us get plants into the ground at multiple parks and natural areas,” he reported

“Because we were not inviting the public to this staff-only event – this was just organized internally as would be any other staff project – it was not something that we advertised to the public,” Ross daid. “So, it was not a public event and under current guidelines we were unfortunately not able to have additional people join us for the project.

“Thanks to Portland Parks & Recreation staff and our partners at Green Lents and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council who have completed planting the Lents Park Nature Patch,” Ross concluded.

Find out more, and see an illustration of the project, at its official PP&R webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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