De La Salle, Meet Baltimore Woods; Invasive Blackberry, Meet Your Doom

Written by SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest Member, Charlie

On their annual day of service this Friday, a group of students from De La Salle in North Portland had the opportunity to spend the beautiful day outside working at SOLVE‘s Baltimore Woods site. Under the shadow of St. John’s Bridge, students learned how the Baltimore Woods site is part of a large city-wide project that is hoping to restore a band of green space along the shore of the Willamette river that stretches from north Portland down all the way to Milwaukie. Much of the water the rains on the North Portland neighborhood flows through this site on its way downhill to the river. Having this be a healthy green space can really improve the water quality before it hits the river by filtering out pollutants (like sediment and heavy metals) and cooling down the water (with shade). SOLVE along with several community partners are working on this space to make it more natural, right now it is full of invasive species, such as the invasive Armenian Blackberry and litter.

The De La Salle Students got right to work on the site, removing the invasive blackberry bushes that have started to encroach on some of the native plants Green Teams and volunteer groups had planted this winter. It’s amazing how quickly those blackberry canes grow in the springtime; it seemed that there was nothing there, only a few weeks ago. It’s also amazing how quickly those blackberry canes were removed by the students. After working hard in the sunshine for an hour, everybody took a break and learned about litter, and how much of the litter discarded on the land finds its way to the ocean through rivers and streams. We then finished up the day by doing a litter clean-up along the Willamette. This litter was set aside to be made into art to serve as a piece to spread awareness about the amount of trash in our waterways.

Thanks for all of your incredible hard work De La Salle! The Willamette is a healthier place because of you!

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