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New Seasons, park district work on Barrows Road park projects


THPRD seeks others to join its fledgling Adopt-A-Park program

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - New Seasons at Progress Ridge employees, from left, Clint Combes, Paula Heine, Cindy Dawson, Samantha Spragens and Jon Rich helped to remove invasive plants from Barrows Park last fall.  Employees from New Seasons Market at Progress Ridge who volunteered last fall to help maintain the nearby Barrows Park are gearing up for a second round of park projects, while the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District is seeking new sponsors for its fledgling Adopt-A-Park program.

The New Seasons at 14805 S.W. Barrows Road, suite 103, became the only for-profit corporation officially enrolled in Adopt-A-Park in 2012. In late September, volunteers from the store participated in their first project — removing invasive plants from the hillside above the creek at nearby Barrows Park.

“About 30 volunteers donated 111.5 hours to remove 16 cubic yards of debris at these projects, which focused on clearing about 2,500 square feet of invasive plants, including English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and non-native trees,” said Melissa Marcum, volunteer coordinator in the district’s natural resources department.

In keeping with the spirit of the brand, New Seasons committed to complete one new project each season at the park site.

The next Barrows Park project, scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, will include the planting of native shrubs and the transplanting of some native Oregon white oak trees that are already on site, Marcum said. Barrows is a linear park that straddles Summer Creek, located just south of Barrows Road and west of Walnut Street.

The Adopt-A-Park program requires groups to complete four projects during a year and contribute at least 60 hours of service. Each volunteer must commit to eight or more hours a month for six months or more. Six groups and 14 individuals are currently enrolled at various parks througout the park district.

“We were looking for a community-based project that was local and that supported our belief in taking care of neighbors, the environment and one another,” Sam Spragens, an assistant front-end manager at New Seasons who coordinated the volunteer project, told park district officials. “It’s been a very natural, organic partnership.”

Spragens learned about Adopt-A-Park when she participated in a small volunteer outing at Barrows Park with a few New Seasons colleagues last summer.

“Our community coordinator had left the company, and we were left with this scheduled event to clean up the creek,” Spragens remembered. “It sounded like a fine idea, but not many people had volunteered — there were five of us — and it was a cold and damp Sunday morning in July.”

Their spirits were lifted by park district ranger Kyle Spinks, who directed their efforts that day. Spinks continues to work with the New Seasons team on upcoming volunteer projects.

“Kyle was really knowledgeable,” she said. “Every time we’d pull up a different slug or snake, he’d point out what it was. It was very positive.”

When the project ended, Spinks suggested the Adopt-A-Park program to Spragens and store manager, Jon Rich. She called Marcum to set up a meeting to discuss park adoption parameters.

The store was able to provide 30 volunteers for the three-hour project at Barrows. The same level of participation year-round would yield 240 hours, which Marcum said is enough to remove a quarter-acre of blackberries, 5,000 square feet of ivy and a quarter-acre of non-native trees.

“They’re getting a huge amount of work done with minimal staff input,” Marcum said, adding that working with a visible company like New Seasons is a significant step for Adopt-A-Park. “New Seasons has a big audience. When they are talking about their project, that provides a great public face for us. We don’t have to put as much time as we normally would into the recruitment and promotion of the program.”

New Seasons employees, Spragens said, have an additional motivation in that they can contribute up to eight hours of paid volunteer time annually through the company’s Lend-A-Hand program.

For more information, call 503-629-6305.

New Seasons customers interested in participating on Jan. 20 can get details at the Progress Ridge store. Volunteers will meet on the trailhead on the west side of Southwest Horizon Boulevard, just south of Barrows Road.