Planting a new forest

Starbucks Staff at MLK Day Planting (Elizabeth Craig)
Starbucks planters (Elizabeth Craig)

Please join us for our March and April plantings along the I-205 Multi-Use Path! ODOT’s Elizabeth Craig wrote this story about the first planting along the path in 2012:

The threat of snow and ice didn’t stop volunteers from coming out on January 16 to plant trees along the I-205 Multi-Use Path as part of MLK Day of Service. More than 100 people joined Friends of Trees and ODOT in planting 165 trees along the path in Parkrose as part of a three-year effort between Friends of Trees, ODOT and Metro to add thousands of trees to the path.

I-205 MLK Day
Janet Schmidt, REI Portland

Janet Schmidt is an outreach and events specialist with REI, the corporate sponsor of the Jan. 16 planting. Janet addressed the crowd of volunteers at the start of the day’s planting and explained that REI employees nominate groups for REI sponsorships. Friends of Trees happens to be an employee favorite, she explained. “It’s perfect we’re doing the path because we’re avid cyclists,” Janet commented.

Of the volunteers at the planting, Portland Waldorf School brought 22 high school students and 18 middle school students to join in the efforts. Tree plantings are not new for the Portland Waldorf School students – they’ve volunteered at several other Friends of Trees plantings along the I-205 Multi-Use Path.

I-205 MLK Day
Portland Waldorf School students

“We love Friends of Trees,” said teacher Christopher Zinn. “The work we do here is meaningful because we see it after it’s done – it gives our students a sense of accomplishment,” he said. Teacher Jim Conlon added that volunteering on MLK Day of Service is special because it’s a day of coming together and doing something for the greater good.

About 50 people volunteered for the Jan. 16 planting through Hands on Portland, an organization that connects people with volunteer opportunities. Jack Matteson, Volunteer Leader for Hands on Portland, said that 3,000 people volunteered through Hands on Portland as part of MLK Weekend of Service. Of those volunteering at the planting were five employees from Starbucks.

I-205 MLK Day
Oregon State Rep. Michael Dembrow planted with Portland OIC/FOT crew leader Daniel Delgado

Calvin, Tim, Jason, Jerry and Sara (all from different local Starbucks) had already planted 10 trees in one hour and according to the group they “thought they’d be the winner” for the day with the most trees planted. They explained that every year Starbucks encourages employees to get involved with MLK Day of Service and this particular group chose the planting with Friends of Trees.

“Overall, it’s a fun atmosphere for people, even though it’s really cold,” explained one Starbucks staffer. “It’s exciting and nice to have the camaraderie and build the team up,” explained another.

Greening the I-205 Multi-Use Path is a collaborative effort between ODOT, Friends of Trees and Metro. With grant funding from Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods Capital Grant program, ODOT and Friends of Trees – with support from volunteers – will add thousands of trees and shrubs in existing ODOT property along the I-205 Multi-Use Path over a three-year period. The project is part of ODOT’s overall vision to make significant improvements to the 16.5-mile I-205 Multi-Use Path, which is used by commuters, neighbors, residents, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users.