Volunteers return to perk up Johnson Creek during ‘Watershed Wide’ event

Discover why outer East Portland neighbors volunteered to help improve the health of this urban waterway …

Like true Oregon natives, volunteers show up to work in the rain at the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 25th Watershed Wide Event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In a number of locations along Johnson Creek – from its headwaters in east Multnomah County, to its confluence with the Willamette River near Sellwood – volunteers showed up to plant and pick up trash on Saturday morning, March 4. They’ve been doing it for 25 years, rain or shine.

This year, volunteers got both. Starting out, leaders and helpers were drenched in a downpour. But then the storm moved on, and eventually the sun peeked through the clouds.

At one of the worksites, JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry talks with a volunteer.

“Each year, we select ten sites for this. It’s our 25th annual ‘Watershed Wide Event’,” said JCWC Executive Director Daniel Newberry.

“Our volunteers plant native trees and shrubs, remove invasive plants, and mulch previous plantings,” Newberry explained. “Most of these sites are on the banks of Johnson Creek or a tributary, with the goal to provide shade, which will lower stream temperatures for fish.”

Colored flags on stakes indicate which cuttings to plant at this location.

This year, 280 volunteers turned out, up from their lowest-ever turnout of 158 just after the COVID pandemic hit in 2021. “We hope that next year, the pandemic will be even ‘further in the rear view mirror’, so even more people will come out as they did when we consistently had 350-425 volunteers.”

Off SE Luther Road, just west of the Lents neighborhood, volunteers work in the willows collecting trash.

Along the Springwater Trail at S.E. Luther Road, near 82nd Avenue of Roses, some volunteers were cloning willow trees, replanting them by cutting a healthy branch and sticking it into the moist soil.

Other “creek keepers” were planting starts, and more were busy just picking up trash.

The friends volunteering together in the Foster Floodplain area are Erin Bricker, Georgia Lawson, and Clare McClellan.

And, further east in outer East Portland, another group of volunteers was working in the Foster Floodplain area along SE Foster Road, near the Springwater Trail. Although a small band, the group finished planting all of their starts within 90 minutes of starting.

When the planting was done in the Foster Floodplain, some of the volunteers – like this one – grabbed bags and picked up trash.

“Across all of our sites, these dedicated volunteers put in about 3,000 plants that morning,” Newberry reported afterwards. “A tradition we started because of COVID was delivering burritos to each of the sites; this year, we ordered 300 burrito, and definitely, all of them were consumed!”

Either along Johnson Creek’s banks, or in the nearby watershed, volunteers help improve the health of the waterway by planting during this annual Watershed Wide Event.

“Johnson Creek needs the continuing help of its community,” Newberry remarked. “Look for more volunteer activities throughout the year, by visiting our website!” To do so, just CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


Comments are closed.

© 2005-2024 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.