Replanting the park

by: Tracy Stepp, Sandra Fernandez, with Earth Crusaders, helps replant more than 1,000 shade-tolerant plants in Wilderness Park last Saturday.

After months of controversy, Wilderness Park is getting back its greenery. Members of the Earth Crusaders, a non-profit education and training group, and some West Linn community volunteers helped replant the area last week.

Jerry Herrmann, president of Earth Crusaders, said 1,850 container-grown, well-established and shade-tolerant plants were restored to the area, including Oregon grape, thimbleberry, big leaf maple, Western hemlock, sword fern and Pacific yew. Herrmann said they treat the plants with coffee grounds to 'keep the deer at bay,' and they'll continue monitoring and weed control through the fall.

Initial planting work should be completed this week, even though it was difficult in spots along the steep terrain.

'Drilling holes on the hill was the worst,' said Nick Barnard of Oregon City, who used an auger to ready the ground for the plants.

Many West Linn residents were angered last fall when the city installed a water pipe through the open-space park, clearing a swath of land 35-50 feet wide, and doing so without voter approval. Voters in May approved keeping the 12-inch waterline in the ground and using it.