The Boise-Eliot Native Grove: A New Community Space for Watershed Health
(November 12, 2019) - With a little vision and a lot of help from community and City partners, Northeast Portland residents converted an underused patch of right-of-way into the Boise-Eliot Native Grove, a home for wildlife and a place to relax, learn, and play for people in the city.
Many hands make light work! The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services provided native plants and educational art and signage. Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Spaces to Places Program provided the location for the grove on N Ivy St and N Gantenbein Ave. East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and the Boise Neighborhood Association contributed native plants and mulch. The Xerces Society, Friends of Trees, Boise-Eliot-Humboldt Elementary, The Ivy School, and the Rebuilding Center all brought additional materials and volunteer labor to the partnership.
The native grove features a variety of native plants and habitats for people and wildlife to enjoy. Narrow pathways wind through the lush vegetation, revealing the grove’s treasures: a mason bee hotel, interpretive signage describing the benefits of native plants, a gazebo with a six-sided bench constructed by the community with salvaged materials, and a living dome of Sitka and Pacific willow trees that beckons children and adults to crawl inside and explore.
Community volunteers also maintain the plants throughout the year. They got a surprise this summer when a water line beneath the native grove burst, flooding the site and creating a sink hole in the middle of the willow dome. Working quickly, Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau collaborated with the volunteers to repair the pipe and to salvage and rebuild the willow dome. In time, the fast-growing willows will achieve their former height, re-creating the tunnel of vegetation and restoring some of the grove’s mystery.
In the meantime, stop by the native grove to enjoy some time with nature in the city, and to cheer the newly re-planted willows on their way to recovery.
Visit: N Ivy St and N Gantenbein Ave.
Volunteer: Find out about tree plantings, and other community events as well as how we are improving watershed health from your neighborhood to the river. Or visit the grove website at nativegrovepdx.org.
Environmental Services works with public, nonprofit, and community partners to protect public health and the environment by preserving and restoring the health of Portland’s watersheds. Learn more about Environmental Services’ stormwater projects and community-focused programs.