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An Inner Southeast park needing upgrading and repair gets a boost from local residents

DAVID F. ASHTON - With some seventy-five plants installed, the volunteer group gathers for a team photo. Along S.E. Harney Drive, a half-block east of 45th Avenue in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, a group of volunteers from "Friends of Errol Heights Park", as well as the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, were planting native shrubs on the drizzly Saturday morning of March 17.

"We're installing about seventy-five plants today, all of them native to Oregon, including red flowering currants, Rubus parviflorus – commonly called thimbleberry – and Mahonia aquifolium, our state flower, the Oregon grape!" grinned Portland Parks & Recreation's Stewardship Coordinator for the Johnson Creek watershed, Susan Hawes.

The hearty volunteers struggled in the rocky soil which covers the debris previously left at an area that had become a de-facto dump site.

"Doing this helps the beaver pond down below by holding the soil in place, so it doesn't go into the pond – and it helps reduce erosion, which in turn helps keep the water clear for the critters, fish and insects," Hawes explained. "Volunteers are critically important; there is no way that we would've been able to do all of the restoration work that's been done in Errol Heights Park with staff alone, so we really thank the volunteers from the community for helping."

More cleanup and upgrading is in the offing, from Portland Parks and Recreation, for this urban wetland in Inner Southeast Portland.

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