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An undeveloped woodlot between Portland Memorial and Llwellyn School starts parking lot construction

RITA A. LEONARD - A tall aerial lift places a workman with a chainsaw into the largest fir tree to be removed for the new parking lot, just north of the Portland Memorial Mausoleum. "Moreland Woods" is the name given to an undeveloped, forested lot on S.E. 14th Avenue in Westmoreland between the Portland Memorial Mausoleum and Llewellyn Elementary School. A group called "Friends of Moreland Woods" has been working for quite some time to raise money to buy all or part of the lot, for use as a public park area, from the new owners of Portland Memorial, "Foundation Partners".

In the meantime, Portland Memorial reports that the number of people attending memorial services there as declined, and there no longer seems to be a need for its two half-block parking lots. The southern one was sold some time ago and is now in the final stages of being developed for townhomes. The northern lot, temporarily being used this summer for the Moreland Farmers Market, is also intended for future development. Consequently, Portland Memorial, which owns the "Moreland Woods", has decided to install a small parking lot on the south edge of the property. This has necessitated the removal of some of the trees on it, but Sellwood landscape architect Rick Lakeman, a member of Friends of Moreland Woods, worked on a plan with the landowners to help conserve some other tall firs at the back of the site. These overlook the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and offer some shade.

On Monday, July 19, four of large trees on the planned parking lot were removed, with a few others also to be removed to clear the space needed. All the trees cut were limited to those designated for the parking area after working with the Friends of Moreland Woods to reduce the cut trees to the bare minimum for the purpose.

The tree removal crew was surprised at the public interest at what they were doing, since they were simply hired to clear some property. The workman with a chainsaw on an aerial lift reported that a branch cleft near the top of the largest fir tree being cut had been collecting rainwater, and could have eventually posed a danger to people walking below. The rest of the trees on the wooded property are to remain as they are; but the rest of the lot is, at least theoretically, for sale. The Friends of Moreland Woods group has not given up trying to raise money to acquire it for the public. The group is a subcommittee of the Stewardship of Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC) of SMILE – the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League neighborhood association – and donations directed to Friends of Moreland Woods c/o SMILE will be tax-deductible under SMILE's nonprofit 501c3 status. Checks made out to SMILE, with "Friends of Moreland Woods donation" written on the notation line, may be mailed to SMILE at 8210 S.E. 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202.


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