The 'Letters to the Editor' is where you will find BEE readers offering their own ideas about current affairs

Rhody Garden fights theft and vandalism


Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a jewel in the city of Portland. It is also one of Portland's best kept secrets. If you have never visited, make the short trip to 5801 S.E. 28th Avenue (across from Reed College) and walk the garden paths, enjoy the solitude, discover what's in bloom, listen to the waterfalls, and observe the wildlife. This garden is a place to slow down, to regenerate, and to take in the beauty all around you.

Crystal Springs, although in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, is largely a self-sufficient garden managed by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Crystal Springs relies on gatehouse receipts, special events, donations, memberships, its early and Mother's Day plant sales, and its fall fundraiser to cover the ongoing upkeep, repairs, and improvements to the garden. We do not receive any money from taxes or the city to cover our expenses and improvements.

Last year we installed a number of new retaining walls to replace the old ones that were starting to collapse. Currently we are re-landscaping the Jane Martin Memorial garden and improving drainage for the countless springs bringing water to the garden. In addition to some behind-the-scenes improvements made, there are several other projects considered mandatory that are in the queue.

Unfortunately, in the past year Crystal Springs has experienced some major theft and vandalism in the garden. Our John Deere Gator was stolen and never found. Earlier this year we had all the Tassel Ferns in the garden stolen, and other ferns chopped down or destroyed. These incidents are the most severe in the history of the garden. The cost to the garden has been between $16,000 and $17,000.

Because of the damage and replacement of equipment, as well as installing enhanced security measures, the garden has changed a few procedures at the gatehouse and garden. The gatehouse will now be open year-round and an entrance fee will be charged starting at 9:00 a.m. till closing. Closing times will vary depending on the season; in March and April, the garden will be open till 6:00 p.m. Entrance for adults (ages 19-64) is $7.00; for seniors (65+) and students (ages 7-18), admission is $5.00; children ages 6 and under are free.

These changes are made for the security and preservation of the garden, and to ensure the garden can be enjoyed by all for decades to come. This year the American Rhododendron Society will hold its national convention in the Portland/Vancouver area, soon followed by American Public Garden Association conventioneers. Both groups see Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden as one of the highlights of their time here.

We are grateful to all our neighbors in Southeast Portland who patronize and support Crystal Springs, as we celebrate our 70th anniversary this year. Come rediscover this renowned botanical gem in your own neighborhood.

Dan McLaughlin, Chair

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

More thoughts on "Residential Infill Plan"


About that Portland Residential Infill Plan – I am in complete agreement with Mr. Wygant [Letters, January BEE], as I believe most people on the Eastside are. We are being railroaded into accepting this plan that no property owner has had any input in approving. Our homes are our biggest investments, and our neighborhoods dictate our quality of life. I don't understand why there isn't a much louder outcry about what we see going on around us.

There are so many things wrong with the current plan. First of all, will someone tell me how many thousands of apartments have been built in the last 10 years and why? What study has been done to justify the explosion of building? Is there an end number that they are trying to achieve, and if so, what is it?

If you go on "" right now for the Portland area there are over 7,000 apartments available. So why are our City Council and Mayor allowing contractors and the real estate industry to continue this leveling of residential homes, neighborhoods, gardens, and trees? Has there been an environmental impact study done on our resources to accommodate all of this influx of people? Water? Sewer? Transportation? I bet not.

We need a way to organize and fight this. Does anyone have any ideas? Mr. Wygant? Mr. Pamplin?

Teddi Carbonneau

Southeast Portland

Sellwood-Moreland "Main Street" plan ready for community input


The draft Sellwood-Moreland "Main Street Design Guidelines" are available for review!

After more than a year of work by some very dedicated volunteers, and input from over 150 neighborhood residents and small business owners, we finally have a draft plan to help us grow while we keep the small town charm of our neighborhood. It's our goal to encourage new buildings that fit easily in the neighborhood alongside buildings that were built and designed at the turn of the century.

We do want more homes for our growing population, and more retail space for our unique locally owned businesses. We are fortunate to live in a very special neighborhood, and we all want to see it grow and move forward without losing its character. Please take a look at the plan posted online at – – and join us for our next community meeting: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 4th, at SMILE Station, 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue, a block south of Tacoma at Tenino Street.

Vikki DeGaa SMILE Land Use Committee

"Raid Your Garden for the Woodstock Plant Sale"


We need BEE readers' help for this year's Woodstock Neighborhood Plant Sale, which benefits the Woodstock Community Center. The plant sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 9th, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd Avenue.

This sale depends primarily on donations from generous gardeners in the community. We are looking for perennials, as well as vegetable starts, herbs, ground covers, native plants, ornamental grasses, houseplants, and small trees and shrubs. We encourage you to contribute plants from your garden, potting them in March or early April in preparation for the sale.

Proceeds from this sale support volunteer efforts to provide routine maintenance, including custodial service and supplies, for the Woodstock Community Center, as part of an agreement with Portland Parks that has helped keep the Center open since 2004.

Mark your May calendar – you can drop off your contribution at the Woodstock Community Center on May 8th, between noon and 7 p.m. If you need empty pots now, or an alternate drop-off time in May, call Terry Griffiths at 503/771-0011, or Sandy Profeta at 503/771-7724.

Sandy Profeta


Learn about your food


I'd like to invite BEE readers to meet local farmers and find out the benefits of "Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)". Specifically, this opportunity is on Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in The Redd, in the Ecotrust Building, 831 S.E. Salmon Street. This is a free event. Have you ever purchased a box of produce to be delivered to your door each week? This is a great convenience, but where was the produce grown? Attend this event and find out! Activities include cooking demos, kids' activities, and "CSA farm matchmaking". Attendees can purchase local produce, pasture-raised meat, wild fish, garden starts, flowers, honey, and eggs. Learn more online –

Anne Schneider

Board Member, Portland Area CSA Coalition

via e-mail

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