In 2013, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District board member Jane Hartline met Carol Canning at a gathering in Linnton. They quickly bonded over their distaste of English ivy, in particular the ivy covering our forest floors and creeping up native trees in NW Portland. Carol, who lives on NW Riverview Drive, told Jane about all the ivy growing in the beautiful, mature forest on her property and her neighbors’ land in the area known as Hummingbird Hill. Jane promptly met with several of Carol’s neighbors to teach them how to remove ivy from their trees, and the Hummingbird Hill Forest Restoration Project was born.
Carol and Jane worked with seven other neighbors for a total of 127 hours to remove ivy from trees. The impact was enormous, and the neighbors became even more ambitious about expanding the project to remove ivy that was growing on the ground and tackle other invasive species, such as blackberry. Tom Dee, a professional biologist and a Hummingbird Hill resident, is a big thinker and started talking with more neighbors that had not yet become engaged in the project. Tom worked with West Multnomah SWCD Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr to write a Metro Nature in Neighborhoods Restoration Grant. They were rewarded with a $25,000 grant and West Multnomah SWCD agreed to contribute more than $14,000 to the project for weed control on 21 acres of forest. To enhance the restoration after blackberry and ivy is removed, 18,000 native shrubs and trees were planted.
Most restoration projects require matching landowner financial contributions, but the volunteer work by landowners to prepare and improve the site is even more important to maintain future success. Along the way, volunteers and neighbors have kept ivy off of the trees and hand pulled ivy in a few sensitive areas. Tom Dee has donated 30 hours of his time to help monitor the changes in vegetation. The community has also volunteered an additional 275 hours pulling ivy, cutting it away from trees, and planting native plants. Tom and Carol are great points of contact to share information with neighbors throughout the entire project. We’re very thankful for all the input, coordination, and professional skills of the neighbors at Hummingbird Hill.