Leach Upper Garden project moves forward

Here’s an enhancement to outer East Portland that the pandemic hasn’t delayed. It’s looking good; see for yourself …

In the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, here’s an aerial view of the “Upper Garden Project” construction site of the Leach Botanical Garden.

All mages courtesy of Leach Botanical Garden

While COVID-19 coronavirus concerns have closed down virtually all meetings and events, the Upper Garden Project at Leach Botanical Garden has kept on going.

“The project is on time, and moving steadily forward since the first of the year,” assured Leach Garden Friends Executive Director David Porter, in a remote interview with East Portland News.

By working on parts of the project that aren’t hampered by the day’s weather, the project continues on schedule.

“Out contractor, JW Fowler, is nimble in responding to obstacles. For example, when we had heavy rain, the construction soils were quickly ‘buttoned up’, and the crews pivoted to working on staging materials and filling gabions with cobbles instead of doing concrete pours, until things dried out,” Porter told us. “Their ability to change focus on the project to meet conditions has been a plus.”

Dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus has only had a small impact, Porter remarked. “In one instance, a couple of workers for one subcontractor had to delay when they had a couple of people get sick; otherwise the team’s protocols and steady effort have moved things forward as planned.”

Taken with a drone, this image of the Aerial Treewalk construction shows how the highly fabricated metal structure has proceeded steadily; and how the fully accessible walk will blend into the woodland forest landscape, with views of the other parts of the Garden.

Asked what the thought was the most impressive part of the build so far, Porter responded, “It’s the complexity of the fabrication of the steel decks, railings, support structures, and the related material for the Aerial Treewalk.

“The scale of this structure is the size of a moderate bridge, and the quality of it is impressive; so I’m excited every time I see the steel ellipse in the air!”

When it reopens, this grand staircase will take visitors from the Leach Manor House up to the Upper Garden.

They look to finish the project sometime in October, and the planting of the botanical material will take place after the weather cools.

By the way, although Leach Botanical Garden’s public events, classes, and even the English High Tea, have been cancelled, the grounds are open during regular hours for folks to stroll and take in nature – using proper social distancing, of course.

Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue, 97236 – south of SE Foster Road, down a twisty road, and over the Johnson Creek Bridge into their parking lot. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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