by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Further progress is apparent on this lengthy project, looking south from the northern footbridge in Westmoreland Park. We’ve given you monthly updates on the major changes being made to improve the north end of Westmoreland Park. In late November, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Jim Adams looked pleased at the progress on the natural area restoration work he saw during this site visit.

“There’s been a lot of work done here since we started on June 9, the day after the Milk Carton Boat Races,” Adams reflected. “We took out the duck pond, and worked to restore a natural channel, similar to what we envision it was before the park and the content was built. We rerouted the creek. And we’re in the process now of completing the boardwalk and pier.”

Indeed, the Army Corps, working with their partners at Portland Parks & Recreation, are near the end of the project.

People may equate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with building dams, protecting ocean shorelines, and maintaining major waterways. But, Adams pointed out, “We have a number of different ecosystem restoration projects with different sponsors, including at a major one in the City of Eugene. It’s a fairly robust program that we have – assisting cities and local municipalities in taking care of water resource needs through ecosystem restoration.”

Since THE BEE last visited the worksite, the trails have been paved with water-pervious asphalt.

The National Asphalt Association calls this product “porous asphalt” – pavements that allow water to drain through the surface into a stone recharge bed, and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement.

The stone bed, on which it’s laid, is often 18 to 36 inches in depth, and provides a solid base for the asphalt paving, giving it an expected life of more than 20 years.

And, new path lights have been installed as well, ready to light the way during evening strolls through Westmoreland Park.

But, a considerable amount of work has yet to be completed before the north end of the popular park is reopened.

Adams pointed out that much of the irrigation piping had by now been connected, and the control wiring was ready to be connected.

“One of the challenges we’ve had with this project,” Adams pointed out, “Has been doing excavation for irrigation and the trails. In several cases, dirt was excavated carefully around tree roots. We've gone to great lengths to avoid larger tree roots. This will improve the likelihood that the trees will survive, after construction.”

So, when will the Westmoreland Restoration Project be completed?

Adams said the heavy September rainstorms caused work delays. “All of the non-weather-dependent portions of the project will be in and done by the end of December. But, because this is an active construction site, right now we need to keep the public from moving through here.”

Pointing to areas along Crystal Springs Creek, Adams said the ground still needed to be “fine graded”, using heavy equipment, into the specified contours before landscaping and plantings can be installed – which is difficult to do when the ground is saturated with rainwater.

“Above all, we want to make sure that when we we’re done, Westmoreland Park is the best park it can be,” Adams said. “This means it will be ready for public use sometime in the spring.” THE BEE will keep you posted.

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