The Grange Woods Revitalization Project
The Grange Woods Revitalization Project began when the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District elected to fund a grant addressing the noxious weeds; ivy, holly & blackberry that have dominated the 3 plus acres the Grange owns at 11275 NW Skyline Blvd. The trees there have not been cared for in many years. There are lightning struck snags; there are cherry trees intertwined with cedars; there are sick alders & other deciduous trees exactly in the wrong places. There's room for many, many more evergreens.
Over the summer of 2010 the WMSWCD offered the Grange the expertise of a former AmeriCorps volunteer who designed a loop trail to be built on this land. Eventually a bench will be installed on a sylvan spot overlooking the little gorge Abbey Creek has carved out, which bisects the property. Overall forest health will be the goal as well as the installation of a hedgerow specifically designed to enhance habitat, add food & create more diversity on the land. It will become a living classroom for other woodlot owners who need more information and confidence. Perhaps the school will use it for "Woodsy Owl" activities? The WMSWCD will help us afford replanting plants in trade for volunteer hours.
In October 2010 the ledge covered with berries was sprayed by our licensed contractor & the first of the sick trees was downed.
At the November Work Party, 6 hearty volunteers met to address the next steps. Chainsaws, chokers, cables and winches were each employed to haul up onto the bank the brush left behind by the contractor as well as the first of the other, smaller sick trees. One load of free firewood was given to a local potter.
The December Work Party garnered twice as many volunteers! We generated 32.5 hours of matching volunteer time & three more cherry trees came down & were dispensed. Four more loads of firewood went out that day. Progress was remarkable with so many hands at work. See our "Albums" for photos of what went on out there.
In February we got out there again!
March was all about chipping!
April's work shifted from forestry to noxious weed removal. We discovered that local area students who need to complete community service hours use the SOLV website to find places to volunteer their time. We were happy to have 3 University of Portland students, studying "Theology & Ecology" who joined in the first Grange Ivy Pull. There were high schoolers, a parent & even a 6th Grader who pitched in to help. We generated another 27 hours of volunteer time & moved the project along a little further.
May's action was totally amazing! Members of the PCC Building Trades Program, four at once, came from the SOLV website & they culled the entire lower hillside. Another SOLV Volunteer took his spanking new chainsaw & whacked back a number of trees closer to Abbey Creek, that had been sick & pesky. But more wonderful than all of that is the beginnings of the Abbey Creek Trail!
The June Woods Work Party had fewer volunteers this month but the work that was accomplished was MIGHTY impressive!
Here it is September. Where has the Grange Webmistress been? Busy with summer. In July it was all about making ready for the Summer Gathering. August as well. We Grangers pulled weeds, mowed, painted, scrubbed & re-organized the place in August too, so our very best face would be shown. This last Saturday George Sowder and his winch truck & Miles Merwin and his chipper were once again amazingly willing & hardworking as we chipped up that pile of brush on the edge of the McNamee Road field. Their loyalty to this endeavor is so impressive. Thanks guys! You're the BEST!
It was that same hardy group of workers in October
2011. The tasks were to remove the tiny diseased trees along the Skyline
Blvd. bank & thin the ones that were too crowded. Then Miles & George removed the maples
overhanging the power wire to the building. The bouncing was impressive. And the power lived on without interruption. Clearing the very
back corner of dead & horizontal willow had us down in the party zone. Last year this zone was horribly overgrown, we went back for round 2 of fine tuning. It was the first time
those finicky chainsaws were finicky. So it took a bit longer &
additional equipment needed to be garnered but now it's time to begin to think about the
replanting plan! A year of removing sick & dying has tuned up those woods beautifully. If you haven't noticed yet, be sure to check it out when you come to the Garage Sale, later on this week!