The Our 42nd Avenue neighborhood prosperity initiative held a planting party on Saturday, June 11 to landscape a new community plaza in the Cully neighborhood. The plaza is located at 4830 N.E. 42nd Ave. on a strip of land in front of the Morel Ink building, between the Spare Room lounge and Morel Quick! print and mail shop. About a dozen community members pitched in to get the project underway.
The plants are a mix of native and non-native species, chosen to be durable and drought tolerant while providing seasonal interest and ecological benefit. Species such as evergreen huckleberry, Oregon grape, penstemon and poker plant will provide a spring through fall supply of nectar and pollen for honeybees, native pollinators and hummingbirds.
“This new plaza is just the start of what we hope will be a string of little outdoor gathering spaces along 42nd Avenue that create an inclusive, pedestrian-friendly public realm,” said Laura Waddick, Our 42nd Avenue’s community coordinator. “Creating more spaces like this presents opportunities for neighbors from different backgrounds to get to know each other. The creation of this plaza was a great opportunity for not just neighbors to participate, but for organizations to collaborate.”
The property for the project was donated by Morel Ink co-owners Bill Dickey and Matt Witham. The rain garden takes water from the building roof and returns most of it to the water table, rather than directing it to the sewer.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Dickey. “It makes the front of our building look much better, it provides some amenities for our neighbors and it gives our community a space to gather. We couldn’t be happier with the result. With the help of the neighborhood prosperity initiative and some dedicated community members, the 42nd Avenue neighborhood has really been blossoming.”
The wood for the bench that anchors the plaza is reclaimed tropical hardwood, supplied by North Portland’s Viridian Reclaimed Wood. This wood is pulled from the waste stream at the Port of Portland and the Port of Vancouver. Originally used as stickers for railroad track on freight ships, Viridian gives the wood new life as decking, flooring and furniture.
“The project was designed and built entirely by people who live and work in the Cully community,” said landscape architect Caitilin Pope Daum, who did the site design. “The rain garden and landscape installation was done by Verde, the concrete and wood bench was installed by Manx Design-Build, and paving and other site work was performed by family members of the PortLaundry business adjacent to plaza.”
Arnoud van Sisseren, a consultant with Our 42nd Avenue, facilitated the community design process for the project and posted an idea board in front of the Morel building to gather input for the project.
“I’m very excited that we completed the plaza through a community-engaged process,” said van Sisseren. “It’s so great that we built the plaza with contractors in the district, like Vicente Toscuento, Jarrett Construction Services, Joel Shimmin and Verde. We are very thankful to have worked with Bill Dickey to soften the line between public and private property. The plaza could be a great example for other property owners on the street, like the first pearl in a necklace of multiple public spaces along the avenue where people can enjoy life on the street. This truly adds value to the vibrancy of our commercial district.”
Our 42nd Avenue grants for the project were in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District and the Bureau of Environmental Services.
“We are ready for the next phase,” said van Sisseren. “We could include light features, a community board, artwork and maybe even street trees for more shade.”
In other Cully community news, the Cully Farmers Market will hold a pie bake-off on Thursday, July 21.
“Anyone who wants to participate can bring their pies to Roses Ice Cream at 5011 N.E. 42nd Ave. from 12-6 pm that day,” said Jessica Jazdzewski, a market coordinator. “We will have a panel of judges from the community to taste them and pick the winner on-site. The grand prize will be a cooking class with one of the chefs from Old Salt Marketplace, with additional prizes for second and third place. Pies will be judged on taste and appearance and bonus points will be awarded for recipes that use ingredients purchased at the market.”
For more information on the pie bake-off, email moc.l1493423042iamg@1493423042tekra1493423042msrem1493423042rafyl1493423042luc1493423042 or call 541-510-4761.