Woodstock businesses and neighbors unite to clean up boulevard
A 'Stakeholders Group' of businesspeople in Woodstock has been raising money and providing 'sweat equity' to spruce up Woodstock Boulevard for the past year.
Now, a $2,000 matching grant, designated for the cleanup of Woodstock Boulevard, has come from Venture Portland (formerly known as the APNBA - the Association of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations). Angie Even, owner of the building in which The Flower Shop operates, and former Chairperson and Treasurer of the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), wrote the current grant application, as she has done over the years for various boulevard spruce-ups. She also was the force behind the establishment of the 'Stakeholders Group'.
This year's grant will be used to trim street trees, repair neighborhood banners, weed and barkdust the boulevard's 64 tree wells, and trim shrubs, as well as weed and barkdust the median islands.
Then, on June 2nd, volunteers will pick up litter on the boulevard, sweep sidewalks, and add flowers in pots throughout the Woodstock village center.
In addition to funding through grants, boulevard property owners have been contributing to these improvements. Two years ago Even decided to rally commercial property owners between S.E. 39th and 57th Avenues to form the 'Stakeholders Group'.
The Stakeholders' purpose is to provide general stewardship for the boulevard, in order to maintain quality of buildings and landscaping. This year a $2,000 matching fund from the Stakeholders is what made it possible to receive the Venture Portland grant - but as a matching fund, another $2,000 had to be raised by the Stakeholders, which has now been done.
Even points out, however, that the maintenance of the boulevard is, and should continue to be, a partnership between the neighborhood and business associations, and the Stakeholders Group. Both the WCBA and the WNA have just contributed $250 toward the Stakeholders Fund, as part of raising the match for this year's grant.
'The Stakeholders Group was not started, nor are the funds earmarked, to replace the responsibility of the WCBA and WNA maintenance of the boulevard, but rather to reduce that burden,' comments Even.
And that financial burden is nothing to sneeze at. The 65 flowering Chanticleer Pear trees, planted as a part of the very first Friends of Trees planting in 1989, can become gangly and need periodic 'haircuts'. In 2011, the cost to trim them was $3,530. This year the Stakeholders fund contributed $3,135 for the trimming of the other half of the trees on the boulevard.
Fortunately the tree haircuts are not needed every year. 'We are waiting for an estimate of annual costs from the tree trimmer. Costs should decrease after this year, and then we will be putting funds toward median maintenance and new projects,' Even explains.