Volunteers brave elements to preen Midland Park

WATCH THIS FUN VIDEO | If you don’t know about this little gem of a park in outer East Portland in the Mill Park neighborhood, perhaps you’ll considering visiting it after seeing these volunteers who pitch in to keep it tidy …

Located behind (west of) the Midland Regional Library parking lot, Midland City Park has been a labor of love since its inception.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Several of our city’s parks are sprawling, and more than 100 years old. However, Midland City Park, situated on a modest 1.9 acre lot, wasn’t acquired by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) until 1986.

Outer East Portland park advocates recall that it was the result of untiring efforts of neighbor Jane Baker, who died April 2002, to turn the overgrown vacant lot behind Midland Regional Library into a park. Fortunately, she did live to see her dream fulfilled.

Midland Park, its unique “nature patch”, and other amenities, are maintained by PP&R – with a lot of help from volunteers, primarily from the Mill Park Neighborhood Association (MPNA) who turn out rain or shine – as they did on Saturday morning, May 14.

Park spruce-up organizer Heather Blackwell gets help removing invasive plants from her six-year-old daughter – a Ventura Park Elementary School student – Louisa.

“This park is focused on helping wildlife and native species to grow – and being a green space for people to enjoy when they come to the library,” explained the work party’s organizer, MPNA Treasurer Heather Blackwell.

“Today, we are having a weeding project around the entrance signs,” Blackwell told East Portland News. “After clearing out the weeds, we’re putting in some mulch to make it more welcoming for people when they come in the park,” she explained.

“We really appreciate volunteers helping in the park; they help us get so much done in a very brief period of time,” commends PP&R East Zone Horticulturalist Kirsten Provenzano.

See volunteers working – ripping out large clumps of weeds, and tending to native vegetation – in this video:

“In addition to helping the park thrive, events like this are a great way to meet neighbors, and involve people interested in nature – or in helping to clean up their neighborhood; giving them something good to do,” asserted Blackwell.

“Here today, we have people meeting each other, for the first time, who live close by, but have never actually met each other,” she added.

New Mill Park neighbor Christina Sullivan says she’s glad she came out to pitch in at Midland Park.

“When people, primarily visiting the library, see the park tidied up – it welcomes visitors, and lets them know that the community cares about welcoming new people into this natural space,” Blackwell said before she went back to spreading mulch.

>> On our Front Page: MPNA Vice Chair Emily Hutsell removes another clump of invasive weeds from Midland Park.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News ™


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