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Metro grant gives big boost to church stormwater project

by: cliff newell Sally Weersing and Cindy Ellison are ready for action at Lake Oswego United Church of Christ now that the church has received a $12,000 Metro grant for its stormwater management project.

The green team at Lake Oswego United Church of Christ has enough dedication and expertise for its stormwater management project.

Now, thanks to a $12,129 grant from Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods program, they have enough money to do it.

'It was such a competitive grant,' said Cindy Ellison, co-director of the project, who was thrilled when she heard the news in May. 'Only 11 projects got grants. I was actually a little surprised. It's for even more money than we got from the last grant.'

Metro was impressed with what the church had to offer: Excellent progress since its project began in 2007, high visibility from its location on Country Club Drive and especially the church's ability to form many partnerships.

These partners include the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Tryon Creek Watershed Council, OTAK, Dana Thompson Tank and Soil, Beit Haverim (the Jewish worship community that shares space with LOUCC) and the non-profit group called De-Pave. It will live up to its name by removing 400 feet of pavement from the church parking lot.

'They make a celebration out of it,' Ellison said. 'It's like, 'Yeah, we're removing asphalt!''

Ellison will someday be cheering herself, along with co-director Monica Honegger, green team leader Sally Weersing, and all other church members who have contributed to the effort.

The church was originally built in the 1950s over two creeks, a common practice in those days, and it has experienced water problems ever since.

'There were tons of water pouring through the parking lot,' Ellison said.

Now LOUCC will be planting a second rain garden in the church parking lot.

'We'll plant 700 plants in the fall,' Ellison said. 'We'll have two years to get this done.'

When finished, the church will have built a natural way to collect, slow and filter runoff from its parking lot and will be able to manage water before it meets Nettle Creek and the Tryon Creek watershed.

This will eventually lead to a whopping number: 430,000 gallons of clean rainwater every year.