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West Linn uses stipend to bring in Northwest Youth Corps to pull out ivy and clematis in greenspaces

COURTESY PHOTO: ABBY FARBER - Peter Reidy (left) and David Kleinke worked with Reidy's team of high schoolers from the Northwest Youth Corps to clear invasive species from West Linn greenspaces.With several thousand dollars in accumulated city stipends sitting in their bank accounts, the Rosemont Summit and Hidden Springs Neighborhood Associations recently decided to put the funds to use and remove invasive species throughout the neighborhoods' greenspaces.

RSNA and HSNA hired Northwest Youth Corps, a collective of teenagers and young adults who take part in conservation work throughout the country. Together, the RSNA and HSNA paid $5,800 for the work.

Last week, eight local high schoolers worked with the corps in West Linn's Renaissance Open Space (off of Horton Road) and the greenspace along Pimlico Drive.

David Kleinke, a member of RSNA and steward for many West Linn parks, joined the teenagers in their work helping to clear invasive ivy and clematis in hopes of saving the trees.

Kleinke listed a number of reasons why removing the ivy was critical for these open spaces, and the ecosystem around them: The ivy competes with trees for sunlight, nutrients and water, eventually grows heavy and could topple the tree after sapping them of life-sustaining elements. PMG PHOTO: HOLLY BARTHOLOMEW - Northwest Youth Corps crews work to remove ivy and clematis from trees in the open space along Pimlico Drive. The ivy also can topple trees due to its sheer weight.

Northwest Youth Corps leader Peter Reidy added that the ivy makes trees especially susceptible to coming down in winter wind storms. RSNA President Abby Farber surmised that the prevalence of ivy may be part of the reason so many trees in West Linn fell during February's ice storm.

"The ivy climbing on trees is harmful not only to the trees themself, but it's actually a lot easier for the ivy to fruit. And then birds like it and spread it everywhere," Reidy added.

Farber said that the RSNA and HSNA decided to pay for removal of invasive species in the greenspaces because they knew the city couldn't afford to, and added that the work was especially critical given the growing impacts of climate change.

"This is a true good," Farber said. "It's good for the youth. It's good for the community."

Though the RSNA regularly tackles invasive species at neighborhood parks, led by Kleinke, Farber said the terrain of the open spaces tackled by the corps was too much for the neighborhood work parties to handle.

Kleinke and Reidy noted that the steep grade of the greenspace along Pimlico made the work especially challenging. At Renaissance, they said the biggest challenge was the size of the ivy itself. Klienke noted that some ivy roots were as wide as his arm; Reidy saw ivy that was as thick as the trees themselves.

"There's no shortage of work," Reidy said.


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