Neighbors, mayor to unveil 'Welcome Totems' Saturday

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Linda Ferreira and Wendy Kroger stand on a island on Southwest Settler Way where they and neighbors planted 'Welcome Totems' they created. The totems will be unveiled during the second-annual Greenway Garden Tour on Saturday at 10 a.m.While many have drawers or shoeboxes full of collected miscellany and knickknacks, few get around to turning them into art, much less something as elaborate as the wooden totem poles that grace Linda Ferreira’s front yard.

Buttons, colored glass beads, a wooden snake, tiny whimsical sculptures and figurines — no item, it seems, is too quirky for inclusion on the clusters of the totems that’ve popped up in the Greenwood neighborhood she calls home.

“We just had all this stuff tucked away in boxes,” she says. “We decided, ‘Well, it’s about time to do something with them.’”

Ferreira, a 10-year resident of Settler Way, and longtime neighbor Wendy Kroger are inviting decorative garden enthusiasts to the second-annual Greenway Garden Tour featuring the unveiling of “Welcome Totems” on the Southwest Settler Way island on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sponsored by the Greenway Neighborhood Association Committee, the event kicks off with unveiling four totems in what neighbors call the Oak Tree Garden, a narrow island in the street anchored by a soaring oak tree distinguished by an elaborate network of gnarled branches high above the street.

The six gardens on the tour are along Settler Way, Burnett Court and Templar Place. Visitors can find information about the gardens and maps for the self-guided tour at 12030 S.W. Settler Way.

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle will cut the ribbon and add his painted handprint to one of the totems.

“What a unique and inspiring way to welcome our diverse community to the Greenway NAC, while beautifying a neighborhood,” Doyle says, “as we celebrate art, gardening, and the spirit of neighborhood camaraderie.”

With Ferreira and Kroger leading the way, Greenway neighbors collaborated to install the welcome totems this spring with help from a $1,418 Beaverton Neighborhood Matching Grant, a program that supports neighborhood enhancement projects through the city’s 11 neighborhood committees.

The funding covered all materials, including 4-by-4-foot posts, paint, brushes and grasses for the Oak Tree Garden. Neighbors volunteered 217.75 hours — a requirement of the grant — equal to 4,820.99, Ferreira notes.

The totems sprang from Ferreira and Kroger brainstorming about how their own gardens — as well as the previously weed-strewn street island on city-owned property — could be enhanced for all to enjoy. The garden now includes 600 spring bulbs and other plants neighborhood volunteers have planted throughout the years.

“Linda and I got to thinking, ‘Why not do some totems?’” Kroger says. “We’re a great twosome to make things happen. She’s an artist, and I know how to get things done.”

They proposed a Greenway garden tour when they realized that entire summers had passed and no one had spent time in each other’s TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A bicyclist rides by an island on Southwest Settler Way containing 'Welcome Totems' that neighbors created and planted.

“Several of us in the neighborhood, we’re so busy working in our own gardens, there was no time to see what was going on in others’,” Kroger says. “The gardens are all very different.”

Neighbors found a way to commemorate the city’s involvement with welcoming messages in 19 different languages. Various neighbors pitched in to sand, paint, strip, drill and install the brightly-colored totems, which include the word “welcome” in 19 different languages.

“The city wanted a plaque (on the island),” Ferreira says. “But we decided to put (the recognition) on the totems themselves. Wendy got a list of all 19 languages spoken in Beaverton.”

The idea of the tour is to share gardens in different stages of development — from “new” gardens to established retreats, gardens that welcome families and friends, and those that are for quieter contemplation. Owners will be on hand to answer questions.

Ferreira likes the idea that the welcome totems and landscaping improvements will continue to provide inspiration well after Saturday’s events, with the neighborhood’s common area a proud focal point.

“It was just weeds before,” Ferreira says of the island. “We all love our oak tree. Now it’s happy because it has some friends.”

For more information email Kroger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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