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The Rewards of Consistency

When I first imagined the Pier Park Pick-Up in 2008, it was with a ragtag board of volunteers, all members of Friends of Pier Park. We are dedicated to the protection and improvement of this North Portland Park and knew it would take more than just our members to tackle the invasive ivy that covered an entire hillside along one sheltered valley and was established at the north end of the park as well. We knew we needed help.

Trilliums at Pier Park

The encroaching ivy was a threat to the native understory of ferns, wood violets and trilliums, a threat that could eventually rise to choke the Douglas firs that dominate the Park. One member suggested we call SOLVE to get help. SOLVE staff suggested we schedule our event to coincide with the SOLVE IT Earth Day event sponsored by Portland General Electric.

It was a brilliant suggestion. Over the past six years that we have pulled ivy, blackberries, holly and even Japanese knotweed, it has always been with the help of volunteers from companies across Portland. One year it was Boeing who showed up with 50 volunteers including spouses and children. This year it was a law firm, Perkins Coie, who arrived early and prepared with gloves and tools.

Mary Ann and other volunteers at the 2014 Pier Park PickUp
Mary Ann Aschenbrenner and other volunteers at the 2014 Pier Park PickUp

Along with our own volunteers and the support of Portland Parks staff I am proud to say that we have beaten back the ivy and the blackberries are at bay. The knotweed is nowhere to be seen and the holly starts that came up over the past year are removed. In fact, even the amount of litter picked up seems to decline each year.

This is the reward of consistency. In North Portland, in a neighborhood park that features a Sequoia grove and a forest of Douglas Fir, the ivy that is taking over so many of our public forests is virtually gone. Thank you SOLVE. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who have come out over the years to Pier Park for the annual SOLVE IT event. You have made a difference!

Volunteer group at 2014 Pier Park Pick-Up
Volunteer group at 2014 Pier Park Pick-Up

By Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Mary Ann is a website designer and developer working with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She works and lives in St. Johns, a neighborhood in North Portland.

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