Lents Springwater Corridor       Habitat Restoration Project

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Since 1995 the mission of the Lents Springwater Habitat Restoration Project has been to organize and manage regular tree plantings in the Lents neighborhood - an area in Portland, Oregon that has a lot of economic challenges as well as a lot of potential. We plant native trees and shrubs along the Springwater Corridor – a 35 mile "Rails to Trails" Park that leads from downtown Portland up into the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

Springwater Corridor website
Springwater Corridor map

These plantings are done by the residents of Lents, but primarily by the kids of that neighborhood – from schools such as Kelly and Lent Elementary, Lane Middle School, and Marshall High School, as well as Lents Boys and Girls Club and the Lents Little League. Over the thirteen year history of the project there have been over 95 plantings with over 40,000 native trees and shrubs planted by over 4000 kids and 2000 adults.

Here is a video of a planting.

In addition to the eight annual tree plantings, the project manages monthly volunteer workdays every month throughout the year except December and January - preparing areas for future plantings, blackberry removal, weeding, mulching, watering, maintaining existing plants, litter pickup, etc.

This current year, 2009, is the third year in a four year project being conducted along one of the worst portions of the Corridor - a 7 block section between SE 97th St. and SE 103rd St. - 1400 ft of concrete, gravel, and asphalt encroachments left over from Dwyer Lumber Mill which operated for decades along this stretch of the railroad line which is now the SW Corridor. All together we need to remove about 700 cubic yards of this heavy debris, bring in an equal amount of clean soil and mulch, rip that into the existing underlayer of soil, and plant at least 10,000 native trees and shrubs within this newly restored stretch of the corridor.

Over the past three years we have removed over 300 cubic yards of this debris, recycled that, brought in 300 yards of clean soil and compost, and planted 6000 native trees and shrubs with over 600 local school kids. This year we will continue the removal of another 300 cubic yards of this debris, recycle it, bring in at least 300 cubic yards of clean soil and compost, rip that into the existing soil, and plant 3000 native trees and shrubs.

There will be at least 8 plantings done during the 2008-2009 planting season. These plantings will be done by Lents area student and adult volunteers: at least 250 students from Lents area schools and 200 adults. Maintenance will also be done by local volunteers as well as by Portland Parks and Recreation. There will be at least 10 community volunteer workdays throughout the year for maintaining these as well as other previous plantings. There will be an average of 10 or 12 adults at each workday and a total of at least 150 volunteers throughout the year.

Being a railroad right-of-way for over 75 years, the Springwater Corridor has, unfortunately, had a long history of illegal dumping, especially throughout the Lents neighborhood. This Neighborhood group along with Portland Parks and Recreation removes a truck load of garbage, tires, building materials, tile, brick, couches, chairs, etc every month or two. During the typical year this project removes an estimated 2000 pounds of illegally dumped debris.

This work is a joint effort between the Lents Springwater Habitat Restoration Project and Portland Parks and Recreation. The project is funded by the generous support of:

We would also like to thank the following organizations for their valued contributions:

  • Americorp donates different crews to act as crew leaders at all elementary school plantings
  • Multnomah County Community Services donates crews for a lot of maintenance work as well as site preparation for future plantings.

This program is directly coordinated by Ed Kerns. Ed is supervised by Mart Hughes and Louise Shorr of Portland Parks & Recreation.

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