By Kate Farrington
Saturday, June 18, marked a new step in an ongoing project at Calvary Lutheran Church at 8026 SE Woodstock by Our Happy Block, a Southeast Portland neighborhood coalition formed by Terah Beth Varga to improve livability through sustainable community design and volunteer projects.
After seeing the church parking lot become a center for graffiti and drug deals and a cut-through for cars heading to 82nd Avenue, Terah decided to organize a group to make a change. She wanted to transform the neglected asphalt parking lot into a lush green space with native plants.
Last December, Our Happy Block planted 29 street trees with Friends of Trees along the north and south sides of the property—Cascaras along Woodstock Boulevard and Rocky Mountain Glow Maples along Martins Street.
Now Our Happy Block is working with Depave to transform the 4,300-square-foot asphalt parking lot into a paradise of native plants and rain gardens.
Our Happy Block received grant funding from East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Portland Development Commission, and SE Uplift. In addition, DePave is bringing $4,190 to the project and $4,000 of volunteer in-kind donations for work parties that will involve depaving and planting.
–Farrington is a Neighborhood Trees Specialist at Friends of Trees.