We have uploaded the map to this year’s neighborhood-wide yard sale this Saturday July 18 from 10AM-4PM throughout Overlook.
Happy Hunting Everyone!
Please join Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry, Overlook Neighborhood Association, and Sustainable Overlook to celebrate the famous and magnificent tree that was the namesake of Madrona Park. As you may know, this sentinel tree fell down on a windless day in February and has now been brought back to the park to serve as a nurse log for the bluff’s fragile habitat.
This dedication will honor the Madrona tree’s cycle of life by celebrating with food, heritage tree coaster/necklace souvenirs, historical information and fun kids’ educational activities, as well as information about future restoration efforts and volunteer opportunities in the Park.
When: Wednesday, May 20 6:45 pm
Where: Madrona Park at 2499 N Wygant (limited parking please use Wygant, Humboldt or Alberta to access the park)
Learn more at https://www.portlandoregon.
A message from Sustainable Overlook steering committee member and summit organizer Josh Cabot:
We want to send a BIG thank you to everyone that came out last month and participated in our neighborhood’s first Sustainability Summit. There was so much to cover and so we just made a few first steps, but it’s a tremendous start!
A few of the big ideas that percolated out of the day included:
- Local economy is strengthened by looping our material and monetary flows back into our immediate community. Perhaps we can develop a directory and map, or other method, for listing all of our neighborhood’s local businesses so that residents can make informed decisions that encourage them to look locally first when seeking out goods and services.
- As a community we need to take a more direct look at equity issues in Overlook and find ways to be more culturally inclusive. A series of “courageous conversations”, as Cinda Jackson coined it, could be an especially direct way to engage communities of all colors and cultures here in Overlook.
- Social Equity and Resilience (aka Emergency Preparedness) are strengthened as neighbors get to know each other better. Block parties are great ways for each street/block to know itself and to stay coordinated as a small piece of our broader community. While a lot of block parties already happen throughout the summer in Overlook, maybe it would be more productive and interesting to ask all blocks to try and host a party on the same day…much like the Yard Sale / Free Share that happens on the same weekend every year across the entire neighborhood.
- We have the power to directly shape the world around us – particularly the physical environment. Exercising thoughtfulness around the plants we put into the ground and the chemicals we use to amend our yards and gardens is especially key. Being pesticide free as a neighborhood is entirely possible, and using native plants to transform our outdoor spaces into rich ecologies is a great first step toward that goal. Identifying and protecting the existing natural spaces we do have on the edges of neighborhood, such as the bluff, can certainly improve Overlook’s natural beauty, but perhaps more importantly it allows us to do our part for the broader ecologic health of the region.
A more thorough summary can be found on the Summit page here.
If you have other ideas, please do share them with us! Everything we talked about at this summit is achievable if we all lift a little bit.
If you did not get a chance to leave feedback for us about how the day went and how Sustainable Overlook is doing in general, please email comments and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps us sustain our momentum going forward toward greater health, livability and resilience. Now go out there and help make it happen!
Registration now open – details and sign up here.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
The Center for Earth Leadership is starting a new Agent of Change training in February. Sustainable Overlook’s founder Leslee Lewis has taken this training and been involved with the Center for a number of years and highly recommends it. Led by Co-Directors Jeanne and Dick Roy, Center programs empower participants to assume a hands-on leadership role in the Northwest sustainability movement by (1) being an intentional agent of change, (2) reducing personal impact on Earth, and/or (3) becoming an assertive advocate for Earth. Here are some details on the upcoming training. Register at their website.
Dates: Five Mondays –
February 23, March 2, 9, 16, and April 13
Time: 6:00-7:45 p.m.
Location: Downtown Portland
Our cornerstone Agent of Change Program begins with a six-session training, “How to Be an Agent of Change in Your Circle Influence.” Over 1,000 adults have enrolled.
Each participant selects a circle in advance of the course (see the “Project Ideas by Circle” PDF for inspiration). During the training, each participant develops a plan to effect change, and, in consultation with other participants, takes first steps to implement it. After completing the training, through our Agent of Change Network, participants receive ongoing support, inspiration, and education.
Individually, our trained agents achieve tangible, visible results as they construct building blocks for a sustainable culture within their circles of influence. Collectively, they form a legion of trained agents fanning out across the greater Portland community to transform the broader culture.
Here’s one of our articles from the latest edition of Overlook Views Newsletter.
Invasive Plants in Overlook
by Mulysa Melco
Have you ever noticed ivy smothering a tree or Himalayan blackberry engulfing an alley or fence line? These are common examples of invasive species in our neighborhood. Many plant species have been brought to Portland since settlers arrived, some intentionally introduced and others that have hitchhiked by various means. While many of these new species have been ornamental or useful, some have escaped cultivation and done too well here – outcompeting the native vegetation and causing a range of ecological and economic problems.
Overlook Neighborhood was once a patchwork of oak woodland, mixed conifer forest and wetland that was home to many species of birds, pollinators and other wildlife. Our neighborhood is on the Pacific flyway, a major migratory route, so it is also in the position to provide critical sustenance to bird species passing through. As a volunteer with Friends of Overlook Bluff, a group that is working to create a nature trail around a heritage oak and restore historic oak meadow habitat, and as a landscaper designer who gets a lot of questions about dealing with invasive plants, I wanted to know more about their impact in our area. I spoke with Overlook neighbor Mitch Bixby, the Early Detection/Rapid Response (EDRR) field technician with the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
Mitch explains, “Invasive plants, by the definition we use, are species that change ecosystems. They’re not just “plants in the wrong place,” but species that cause ecosystems to fail in some objective, measurable ways. For example, overwhelmed ecosystems tend to have just a few kinds (or just one kind) of plant, all flowering at the same time, and then setting seed at the same time. These monocultures prevent insects and animals that depend on diversity (most of our native wildlife) from getting what they need. That’s one reason why plant diversity is so important.”
Another issue is stormwater, “We also have concerns about monoculture and infiltration. Diversity of plants leads to a variety of root systems, allowing water to soak into the ground. Having only one or two species means water is more likely to run off into the city’s sewer system, and that increases costs for Portland’s sewer ratepayers.”
Mitch’s role is to help catch new problem species before they become as established as ivy or blackberry. While it can be frustrating to see those species taking over areas while he addresses emerging invasive plant issues, “I think it’s an opportunity for folks to empower themselves on their own property.” I asked Mitch which invasive species have the biggest impact. “On a citywide basis, species like blackberry and ivy continue to do the most damage, though non-native clematis is now a faster-moving menace. Lesser celandine and Italian arum fill spaces quickly and are difficult to remove, though not (yet) as widespread as the first group.” Tree of heaven, pokeweed, Japanese knotweed and butterfly bush are other problem species commonly found in yards.
How should a homeowner go about tackling an invasive plant problem? Mitch says to “just keep chipping away. It’s what I do at my house. Start by clearing one area, continue keeping that area clear, and slowly expand your “territory.” Doing everything all at once can be exhausting; you have permission to let some stuff go for now!” There are many non-toxic ways to get ahead of invasives such as hand digging, sheet mulching and goats. For more management options check out the resources below.
While eradicating ivy or blackberry in Overlook may not be practical, homeowners can learn to identify invasives and do their part to control them on their property (and consider volunteering with efforts to improve the health of our green spaces.) Our efforts to create diverse habitat in our yards can be a big benefit to wildlife that have lost habitat to invasive plants.
BES invasive species information www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/invasives
Environmental Services City Green blog www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/citygreenblog
East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) has fantastic gardening classes and workshops www.emswcd.org
The 4-County Cooperative Weed Management Area www.4countycwma.org is our umbrella organization and has many resources.
Bringing Nature Home: How You can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas Tallamy
Photo: Mitch Bixby
Sustainable Overlook’s Pesticide Free Neighborhood project was featured in a mini-documentary that was filmed last summer by Cooking Up a Story. Check out the video, article and resources to get ideas about what you can do to make your neighborhood safer and healthier.
If you want to take the Healthy Lawn and Garden pledge, visit our Pesticide Free Overlook page. If you live in other neighborhoods are regions you’ll find resources and links to where you can pledge and get your own lady bug yard sign.
Want to get involved with Sustainable Overlook? Email email@example.com or check out our events page.
Get involved with sustainability and resilience efforts in Overlook and help chart the course of preparedness and ecological living in our own neighborhood. Our meetings are a fun way to meet your neighbors, share ideas for sustainability initiatives and lend a hand with projects already underway. Mark your calendar for these dates.
Meetings are on 3rd Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
August – Summer break
September 18th – Steering Committee Meeting – Core group members will meet to plan 2015 events and budget. Email us to get involved!
October 16th – Location TBD – General meeting
November 20th – Location TBD
Phew! It has been a busy summer already with Sustainable Overlook events, from the Intersection Painting to the Garden Tour to last weekend’s Yard Sale / Free Share. We hope you’ve had a chance to connect with at least one of the events thus far. We’d also like to invite you to our monthly meeting this Thursday at 6:30PM at volunteer Josh Cabot’s house, 4035 N Castle Ave. We will be meeting under the covered back porch and will have some light refreshments (lemonade, iced tea, fizzy water, beer).
We will be recapping our summer’s events as well as doing the following:
- Plan our next moves as it relates to our Pesticide Free Overlook (PFO) initiative
- Develop ideas for new sandwich board style yard signs for advertising our events
- Discuss how to start building our new neighbor guide
- Determine how we can do our part to promote our local neighborhood businesses
- Brainstorm a potential neighborhood resilience summit for next spring
- Planning for our table at the Movie in the Park night at Overlook Park 8/31
If you can make the meeting and/or if you have any questions or constructive criticism, please reach out to us at Sustainable@OverlookNeighborhood.org. Also be sure to check back here for updates on all of the work we’re doing around the neighborhood.
Thanks for your interest and your support!