Several years in the planning, this block along the Springwater Trail needs regular maintenance

DAVID F. ASHTON - A five-year Springwater Meadows volunteer, SMILE Board Member Elizabeth Milner, says shes excited to see the planting project nearing completion. Over the past year, volunteers have been tending a block in Sellwood along the Springwater Trail – on S.E. 9th Avenue, between Marion and Linn Streets – that they've called "Springwater Meadows".

On Saturday morning, May 12, eighteen volunteers came out to the area – it's next to the Oregon Pacific Railroad tracks – and as they worked, they waved to excursion train riders as they passed by, on their way back to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.

"During the year, we've planted many trees and shrubs; and today, we're 'filling in gaps' between plants, and adding some more perennial native flowers," remarked one of the day's organizers, Nanci Champlin, an Eastmoreland resident.

The project actually began five years ago, Champlin reminded. "While this land is owned by Metro, and managed by Portland Parks & Recreation, SMILE has an agreement with the Parks Bureau to maintain it."

During the development of the space, community members engaged in extensive public involvement efforts to decide what would be put on the site, Champlin recalled. "Because of the location, next to the Springwater Corridor Trail, the community decided that two things were most important: Safety; and providing habitat for wildlife."

Metro approved a plan to create a habitat for pollinators, and provided a "Nature in Neighborhoods" grant to help fund the effort.

"One out of every three bites of food grows because of help from pollinators, such as birds, bees and butterflies," Champlin observed. "Because pollinators are in a steep decline, we believe it's important to create habitat for them."

Champlin asked that their "watering superstars", Rosemary Southwood and Renate Powell, be honored – for faithfully providing moisture to the growing plants over the summer. And, she also expressed thanks to the owner of the triplex nearby, for providing the water they use.

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