Mercy Me! Baltimore Woods is Looking Mighty Fine!

Written by SOLVE Duke Interns Emma & Caroline, and SOLVE Jesuit Volunteer Corps Member, Charlie

Some pretty awesome local high school students who were participating in the Mercy Corps summer program did a lot of great work in North Portland last week. They worked at the Baltimore Woods site, a band of green space just uphill from the Willamette River in the shadow of St. John’s Bridge. This is a very unique SOLVE Green Team site for several reasons. We normally work at sites along streams and as pretty much all of the streams and creeks within the city limits of Portland have been culverted into tunnels underground, there is little opportunity to work within the city of Portland itself. The Baltimore Woods site has no stream running through it, but as it provides a nice buffer of green space between the very urbanized North Portland neighborhood and the Willamette River, it is very important for the health of the watershed. SOLVE has been working with several partners, including the community group, Friends of Baltimore Woods (who just had an awesome de-paving event this past weekend) to improve this wild space. Since this space has so much urban pressure, it is severely impacted and much care and work is needed to maintain it and rehabilitate it.

The Mercy Corps campers came out with wonderful enthusiasm and great humor. They learned about the work we have been doing there and helped out at a site other Green Teams had planted earlier that year. Now in the height of summer, a cornucopia of annual weeds have grown up and are threatening to smother and shade out the young native plants that had been planted. They were commissioned with the task to cut down these weeds before they have a chance to fully flower and seed, and to give the native plants a little breathing room. They even mulched the young natives to provide an extra protection from further weeds and a little boost of nutrients. As the day came to a close, the students could clearly see a drastic change in the landscape of Baltimore Woods and came to realize the importance of their work.

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