Dozens of volunteers kick off I-205 Multi-Use-Path ‘green-up’ effort

You’ll be amazed to discover how many different government entities and groups are backing this effort to plant hundreds of trees along this 15-mile path this winter. Find out how you can join their next ‘plant party’ on February 20 …

All kinds of folks, from all over Portland, come together to plant trees and shrubs along the I-205 Multi-Use Path, just north of East Airport Way.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There, about as far as one can go north along the I-205 Multi-Use Path – between East Airport Way and NE Marine Drive – more than fifty volunteers were planting trees and shrubs on January 9.

“This is the beginning of a three-year planting plan,” Logan Lauvray, Green Spaces Initiative Manager with Friends of Trees, told us…as we stood on the slope next to the path. “We’re going to plant trees along the 15-mile length of the path, south into Gladstone. Today we’re planting a total of 162 trees in this section.”

Lauvray pointed out that that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been managing the greenery along the path simply through keeping it mowed.

“This is a great opportunity to add a wildlife habitat,” Lauvray said. “And, it’s a way to protect some in neighborhoods along I-205 from the impacts of traffic – noise and pollution – coming off our highway. ODOT has been a great partner with us, figuring out planting plans and letting us do this.”

Taking a break from their planting efforts are Elizabeth Craig, Community Affairs Coordinator with ODOT; Shelli Romero, the Region One ODOT community affairs manager; Logan Lauvray, Green Spaces Initiative Manager with Friends of Trees; and Betsy Lattig, a Friends of Trees Green Space Initiative specialist.

This season, Lauvray explained, they’ll plant about 1,200 trees; over the three-year program, he estimates as many as 3,000 trees and shrubs will be planted.

“This project is supported, in large part, from a grant from Metro’s ‘Nature in the Neighborhood’ Grants Program. It’s also being supported by the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and a number of private and corporate sponsors,” Lauvray said.

Says ODOT is “more than pavement”
Asked why ODOT is getting involved with this “greening” project, Community Affairs Coordinator Elizabeth Craig replied, “A lot of people think of ODOT as strictly a highway agency. In fact we’re a transportation agency, and we invest in all modes of transportation – whether it be roads, bicycle corridors, pedestrian corridors – this is one of many projects we’re investing in to improve multimodal transportation.”

Craig added that the agency plans to use this project as a model for other right-of-way “greening” projects, statewide. “It marks a different way of thinking about what ODOT can do with their transportation corridors.”

Powellhurst-Gilbert’s Jim Chasse says he’s enthusiastic about the “greening of the Multi-use Path”.

Neighbors, from far and wide, pitch in
Jim Chasse, a board member at the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, and also actively involved with the East Portland Action Plan (EPAP), revealed why he was volunteering at an area far north of his neighborhood.

“In my work with EPAP, I’m the liaison for the Interstate 205 Multi-Use Path,” Chasse noted. “I’m glad I can help improve the path, not just for outer East Portlanders, but for everyone in the City who comes to use it. Having trees line the path will make it feel a little friendlier.”

Gregg Pavone, I’noa and little Sean (he’s featured on our cover page) pitch in – literally – with the planting project.

Even though he’s from the Beaverton area, where he works with HSBC, Gregg Pavone said his company, an international financial concern, was a corporate sponsor of the event. “It’s good to show my boys the benefits of volunteering, by coming here to take part in the effort.”

Metro grant funds project
The three-year project is funded by a $410,000 “Nature in Neighborhoods” grant from Metro’s 2006 voter-approved Natural Areas bond measure, according to Friends of Trees spokesperson, Teri Ruch.

“The East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District has provided $80,000, and area businesses are providing additional funds,” Ruch said.

Antonio Askew and Kris Greene say they’re working on the project through their school on N. Killingsworth Street, Rosemary Anderson High School/Portland OIC, which prepares at-risk youth for future success through education, leadership, family outreach, employment training, and placement.

Next planting is February 20
Help green the Lents neighborhood from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm – volunteers will join with Friends of Trees and PDC (Lents, Gateway, and Airport Way URA’s) and the Youth Green Leadership Corps to plant trees along the Multi-Use Path.

Bring your sturdy shoes and wear weather-appropriate clothing, and help the environment and your community. Meet the group at SE Pardee Street and 94th Avenue. Light refreshments will be provided.

They also plan plantings on March 6 and March 20: to see the Friends of Trees Calendar, CLICK HERE.

Or, for more information, contact Andy Meeks at Friends of Trees at (503) 282-8846 ext. 24, or

They say planting trees is a good way to make new friends while helping improve the environment. Come on February 20, and check it out.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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