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A civic effort to maintain an Ardenwald park reaches a significant milestone

DAVID F. ASHTON - Woodstock residents Gina Easley and Brian Jenkins say they enjoy volunteering at the hidden, beautiful park in Ardenwald. Many neighbors who enter the Springwater Corridor Trail through Tideman Johnson Park, going south on S.E. 37th Avenue passing Tenino Street, may not know they aren't in the Eastmoreland neighborhood.

"That's correct; south of Crystal Springs Boulevard, we're in the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (AJC) area," said a long-time resident who lives on the bluff overlooking the park, Marianne Colgrove.

Ten years ago, Colgrove and Lisa Gunion-Rinker helped start "Friends of Tideman Johnson Park", a volunteer stewardship group dedicated to taking care of the park – considered by many a hidden gem in Inner Southeast Portland.

"It was AJC that originally wrote the 'Community Watershed Stewardship Grant' that helped us start this group, to help take care of the park; and we've partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council," Colgrove said, taking a break from pulling invasive plans during their November once-a-month Saturday morning work party.

"One of our milestones is that we used to have English Ivy swinging from the trees! But now, it's quite hard to find, because we've eradicated most of it," Colgrove told THE BEE. "And, we have planted thousands of native plants, filling in all of the layers from groundcover, to middle height, to tree size – which, in turn, is creating a thriving ecosystem for wildlife, and the cleaning water that is flowing here into Johnson Creek."

"Living live close to the park, near Johnson Creek, I feel lucky; it is near and dear to me, and I really want to keep finding ways to help take care of it," Colgrove smiled.

That mission is not yet been fulfilled, she said. "It's a work in progress, but I can look around and see visible signs of our positive impact everywhere."

Friends of Tideman Johnson Park again hosted a "work party" on December 2, and then will take January off, and return on the first Saturdays of each month from February until summer.

Learn more about the group online: www.ardenwald.org/committees/fotjp

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