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ODOT approves site for Brooklyn Community Garden

by: Rita A. Leonard Retiring BAC Vice-Chair Lance Lindahl (left) and Brooklyn Garden Chair Jacob Heil spoke at the May 25th Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood meeting.

The Brooklyn Community Garden is a go!

In late April, approval was received from the Oregon Dept. of Transportation for the Brooklyn neighborhood to develop unimproved ODOT land on the southeast corner of S.E. Franklin Street and McLoughlin Boulevard.

Brooklyn Action Corps board member Jacob Heil created a basic plan for the site which would include about 30 4-foot-by-8-foot raised garden plots, a fence, stairs, a shed, a neighborhood sign, and a water spigot installed under guidance of ODOT's landscape department.

The Brooklyn neighborhood has agreed to maintain and manage the garden site, with the understanding that ODOT retains ownership and the right to develop the site at any future time.

Thirty to forty individuals have already expressed interest in the garden, and Heil is looking for a neighbor to step forward to volunteer as project leader, along with a core group of planners.

At the May 25th BAC meeting, Heil promoted a 'Meet and Greet' cleanup party at the site from 1 until 3 pm on Saturday, June 4. This would be held in conjunction with Brooklyn's Annual Neighborhood Cleanup, which is scheduled for the same date at Brooklyn School Park.

'We'll have dumpsters available to remove debris from the site, and hopefully a sign-up sheet for those interested in developing the plots,' he said. 'We're planning a revolving work party program, with a link to the Community Gardens site. We're also drafting a plan for what will and will not be allowed at the garden. For instance, ODOT does not want any major excavation done there, and has some objections to terracing, although they have agreed to a stone or wooden staircase for access.'

In response to audience questions at the May BAC meeting, Heil revealed, 'We are currently looking for a licensed outdoor plumber to install the water spigot, volunteers to build the raised beds, donations of gardening tools, and resources for good organic soil. It would be great if a Scouting group would volunteer to build the fence, shed, stairs, or raised beds.

'Anyone with ideas is encouraged to e-mail me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'm also investigating the possibility of temporarily storing donated tools with a neighbor near the garden site until a proper tool shed is built.'

Heil currently offers space for informal planning-committee meetings on Sunday mornings at 11 am at The Warehouse Cafe, 3434 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. 'We've set up a specific webpage on the BAC website (www.brooklyn-neighborhood.org) with contact information - or you can e-mail me with questions,' he says. A pictorial representation of the garden plan in color is available at this website.