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Portland Parks Foundation's Parke Diem is back - and this time, even bigger.The citywide event where more than 1,000 volunteers help beautify 58 parks projects takes place Oct. 14-15. It's co-hosted by Portland Parks and Recreation, which helps with materials, project supervision and advertising.

The newest addition this year is the foundation's investment of $11,228 in micro-grants to support the Parke Diem effort. This money is going to partner nonprofits and Portland Parks and Recreation for specific event project supplies that were requested.

"After last year's event, it was apparent in project leader and park manager responses that one of the obstacles of doing bigger and better Parke Diem projects was funding," says Portland Parks Foundation Program and Communication Manager, Mattie Courtright.

Since its start in 2013, Parke Diem has invested in more than 10,000 volunteer hours and has given more than $20,000 in supplies, such as plants, gravel and tools, that stay in use in the park.

The event is organized into three types of projects: community garden projects, natural area projects and neighborhood park projects.

The projects are proposed by neighborhood groups that are partners with Portland Parks and Recreation and by Portland Parks and Recreation staff. The projects are submitted by PPR staff after consulting with "friends group" partners.

"The projects are maintenance projects that could use additional volunteer time or foundation funds, and usually already have a dedicated volunteer group that can get neighbors interested in the park and the Parke Diem project," Courtright says.

Parke Diem is taking volunteers now, and Courtright says they're most needed for the community garden projects — the largest volunteer portion of the event, making up half of Parke Diem projects.

There are 28 community garden events to choose from, with only three of those occurring on Oct. 14. The rest are scheduled for Oct. 15.

"Volunteering in a community garden is a great way to help your neighbors secure fresh produce for their families and food banks throughout the year," Courtright says.

Last year, Parke Diem harvested donated more than 42,000 pounds of produce to local food banks.

Community garden projects ask volunteers to help with other needs like cleaning up beds, weeding paths and preparing gardens for winter.

For natural area projects, volunteers can expect to help remove invasive species, mulching, weeding and trail work, while at neighborhood park projects volunteers will help spruce up the parks by raking, mulching and planting as well.

"Parke Diem is one of the best ways to give back to public spaces that give us clean air, exercise, peace of mind, community togetherness, and local fresh food," Courtright says.

Almost all projects tell volunteers to dress for the weather and wear closed-toed shoes.

Some projects have particular age ranges allowed and can be sorted online at parkediem.org — where volunteers also can sign up.

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