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Annual Report 2015-16

The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District has ended its 2015-16 fiscal year with a bang! Close to 70 partners and supporters celebrated the District’s success and honored past and future leaders at a lunch, Saturday, October 29, at Montgomery Park in NW Portland.

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Hummingbird Hill

District staff and board recognized three groups for outstanding contributions in conservation. A group of landowners around NW Riverview Drive, in an area known as Hummingbird Hill, received the Rural Cooperator of the Year award for their work on a restoration project funded in part by a Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant. Fourteen landowners, led by Carol Canning and Tom Dee, have already spent over 120 hours removing 21 acres of blackberry and ivy in the area. The next phase calls for 18,000 native plants to be installed. Tom Dee says, “My mother taught me to always leave a place better than I found it. This is a wonderful little community up here on the hill and I’m glad that I can be a part of making it more livable for my friends and the critters.” Dee was critical in encouraging so many landowners in the area to be a part of the restoration project.

Alex Dolle gives a helping hand; photo by Jane Hartline

Alex Dolle gives a helping hand; photo by Jane Hartline

The Linnton Neighborhood Association received the Urban Cooperator of the Year award for exceptional work restoring land along Hwy. 30, volunteering to remove ivy and other invasive species in and around Forest Park, and getting engaged in the Portland Harbor Superfund clean-up plan. In addition, residents Rob Lee, Jan Secunda, John Shaw, Darise Weller and Shawn and Dave Looney, worked to establish and maintain the Ma Olsen demonstration garden, assisted with a native oak mapping project, helped shuttle native frogs across busy Hwy. 30, and informed their neighbors about natural resource issues. The Conservation District has worked with the Linnton Neighborhood Association since 2008 and highly values its participation and involvement.

The Conservation District also gave its Green Award to Greenworks, LLC, a Portland landscape architecture and urban design firm which provided countless hours to ensure that the District publication, The Meadowscaping Handbook, was beautifully designed and formatted. Two highlights of the publication were the illustrated plant list and 3-D planting templates. Greenworks staff, specifically graphic designer Jennifer D’Avanzo and owner Mike Faha, went above and beyond their original commitment to complete the project. You can download a copy of the handbook on our home page.

In addition to these awards, the District recognized the incredible contributions of:
• Corrina Chase, former Coordinator of the Tryon Creek Watershed Council
• Gaylen Beatty, former Executive Director of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program
• Dick Springer, former District Manager of West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District
• Kim Peterson, long-time board member of West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

Jackson Voelkel, a geospatial research analyst at Portland State University’s Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab, was the Keynote Speaker for the event. Voelkel’s presentation, Canopy Analytics – An Interactive Resource for Tree Discovery in the Portland Metro Area, connected the audience with the wonders of Portland’s urban tree canopy using lidar images of individual trees. Lidar – which stands for Light Detection and Ranging—is an airborne remote sensing method that uses laser technology to examine the surface of the Earth. “I know where all the trees are”, says Voelkel. “Especially the really big and cool ones,” which Voelkel affectionately referred to as “charismatic megaflora.”

The District’s 2015-16 Annual Report was unveiled by District Manager, Jim Cathcart and is now available online at www.wmswcd.org or from the District office at 2701 NW Vaughn Street, Ste. 450, Portland (while supplies last). “It was great to have all our partners and honorees together in the same room to celebrate the accomplishments of the District,” said Cathcart.