By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
Community members, parents and students helped “depave” about 864 square feet of asphalt from the Vernon School yard where trees, benches and permeable surfaces will be installed.
The September project was part of a larger stormwater education project, said Debrah Marriott, executive director of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, which led the project.
Environmental educators from the estuary partnership will deliver a series of hands-on classroom lessons showing students the connections between land use, impervious surfaces, stormwater and water quality. Students also will have an opportunity to help plan the new site in the yard where asphalt was removed or “depaved,” Marriott said.
Ben Keefer, Vernon’s principal, said, “We are so excited to introduce our students to these concepts—that stormwater from our school is directly tied to water quality in the Columbia River and the Slough, and that there are changes to the ways we use the land that can protect waterways and fish.”
Eric Rosewall, executive director of Depave, an organization that removes paved surfaces, said, “We are pleased to be a part of this partnership to infuse more greenspace into the playground at Vernon.”
The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership was established in 1995 by the governors of Oregon and Washington and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect habitat and improve water quality in the lower river and estuary. The partnership is working on the Vernon project with Portland Public Schools, Depave and Open ArchitecturePDX. Funding is from the city’s Community Watershed Stewardship Program.