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Both the Brentwood-Darlington park, and its namesake, are ready for the big day!

DAVID F. ASHTON - The revitalization of Hazeltine Park looks nearly complete on this sunny day, as students from Woodmere Elementary put in new plants. After being out of service for most of the summer while getting a makeover, Hazeltine Park, in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood along S.E. Flavel Drive, will officially reopen on Saturday, December 1.

Acquired by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) in 2001, it is one of the most inexpensive parks to improve they've had, thanks to labor contributions. Work began to upgrade the park, which is named in honor of Brentwood-Darlington's "honorary mayor" Dick Hazeltine, back in May.

At one of the "planting parties" on the morning October 15th, dozens of fourth- and fifth-grade students from Woodmere Elementary School were on hand to help to plant some of the 3,000 native species being installed as part of the upgrade.

"This park is in the final stages of completion; we've been transforming the park from an open lawn by adding 'Nature Patch' areas – and beautiful split-rail fencing, to define the planting beds and paths that we've created," smiled PP&R's "Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Program Coordinator", Eric Rosewall.

"Adding 'Nature Patches' is a new program of the Parks Bureau, used in underutilized park spaces, bringing more value – for habitat, pollinators, and the people who visit them – by bringing a little slice of nature back here, close to home, to where people live and play," Rosewall told THE BEE.

Some parents came along that day with the school's teachers, to help the youthful green-thumbs dig and plant.

"I jumped on the opportunity for us to come; this provides kids with hands-on experience of planting, using tools, and understanding the difference between native plants versus invasive species," remarked their teacher, Emily Kinney. "And, we all think it's pretty cool to be out helping improving the neighborhood, and community where they live!"

Ribbon Cutting on December 1

PP&R, the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association, and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council have joined to invite everyone interested to come for yet another "planting party", plus the official ribbon-cutting celebration, from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday morning, December 1.

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