Volunteers tidy Lents Village grounds

Discover why a commercial business sponsored an outer East Portland clean-up, and which nonprofit organized the effort …

In the Lents neighborhood, a little rain doesn’t stop volunteers from deconstructing aging planters at Lents Village.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On Sunday morning, November 15, a touch of light rain and wind didn’t stop a group of volunteers from pitching in to renew the exterior grounds of Lents Village, a development built and operated by ROSE Community Development Corporation (CDC).

[To read about the 10 year anniversary of Lents Village’s opening, CLICK HERE. And to see what fun they had there at a 2015 Mother’s Day celebration, CLICK HERE.]

While the property has been well-maintained over the years, the grounds were in need of sprucing up, said the project’s organizer, Mike Malone with Rebuilding Together Portland.

Rebuilding Together Portland Executive Director Mike Malone thanks Republic Services for sponsoring this event.

“All the work we’re doing here today is out-of-doors, working appropriately socially-spaced,” Malone told East Portland News.

“On the west side of the complex, we’re dismantling raised planting beds that are falling apart – they were a good idea at the time, but they are now dangerous,” Malone pointed out. “We’ll be coming back in April to build two new sets [of raised planting beds] – one at wheelchair-accessible height, and the other higher, so residents can stand and garden.”

On the east side of the complex, another group of volunteers are busy at work in the patio area.

ROSE CDC Development Manager Jami LeBaron is busy installing new living plants.

“Their patio hasn’t been very usable, so we’ve taken out tree stumps that were in there and had broken all the concrete – making it difficult for people using walkers or wheelchairs.  It wasn’t safe to be out there,” observed Malone. “And, we’re taking out all of the dead plants and replacing them – and bringing in all new patio furniture, as well as new coverings to provide shady spaces.

“It’s especially important, with COVID-19, to get the residents out of their rooms indoors, and enjoy the fresh air outside,” Malone said.

This cleanup came about because the project’s sponsor, Republic Services, wanted to “help out in a lower income area”, the organizer explained.

Doing his part at the event is Bill Goman of Republic Services.

One of the two-dozen volunteers at Lents Village working that day was Republic Services Division Sales Manager Bill Goman. “Our company is a waste and recycling hauling company which services the Portland Metro, as well as many other franchised markets,” he commented.

“We are very blessed, and our company is doing well; so, two years ago, we started the Republic Services Charitable Foundation to support our communities,” advised Goman. “We’ve decided to reinvest in the communities that we service, and found Rebuilding Together Portland to be a wonderful organization, and now, a partner.

“So, this project is funded by a ‘National Neighborhood Promise’ grant from our foundation,” he said. “We are going to continue working with them through next spring on projects within the Lents neighborhood, so we can help those people of this community who need our help.”

As the project winds down, Rebuilding Together Portland Board President Valerie Ebinger distributes box lunches to hard working volunteers.

> To learn more about Rebuilding Together Portland, CLICK HERE.
> To learn more about ROSE CDC’s affordable housing, CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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