Tuesday, September 25, 2007

your hand in mine

[I'd say don't ask, but it doesn't really matter (nothing's gonna change...)]
so, Oregon Valley Greenhouse is going to deliver our courtyard greenhouse tomorrow, Wednesday September 26th, and we'll spend parts of tomorrow and Thursday putting it together. It'll start with a good ol' fashion hole-diggin' (well, 6 hole diggins, actually), followed by equally exciting adventures with quick-dry cement, levels, and such.

and then, on Thursday, the fun really begins. we've to let the cement dry, and then we start sticking pipes into cement, drilling holes in metal, bolting stuff, stretching opaque plastic - the works. we love to take pictures, so we'll post 'em next week.

we're going to put this greenhouse (but smaller) right here:

oh and hey: last week, we had a board meeting. 2 community members, Maria (the mother) and Brenda (the daughter) attended. Long-time residents and leaders in Hacienda CDC's resident community, they're interested in joining our board of directors, which would be a major good thing for Verde and for our outreach and education activities.

other than that, not much to say, lots going on, scientific progress goes bonk (bw's c&h)


Monday, September 17, 2007

jailbird crossing over

happy monday(s)...

You know, if we don't succeed, it won't be for lack of trying - or, well, lack of sorta trying.

Last week, we put in 2 grants and 2 bids, tho, thankfully, ProLandscape and the Latino Network did much lifting on the heaviest bid and heaviest grant, respectively. But, it was an interesting and busy time, 4 real/sure, and it reflects this goofy-ass blend that is Verde and its Verde Native Plant Nursery project.

With ProLandscape, we responded to a Request for Proposals from Hacienda CDC, an RFP to install a new plaza for the Clara Vista Townhomes (a property we already maintain, so we've a pretty good idea of the site's needs and challenges). It's a great site, oriented around a central courtyard, and with numerous environmental attributes, and also with somewhere north of 3o kids beating the crap out of the grass on a regular basis.

It's been planted twice, a change is needed. Hopefully, we'll get this gig, rotate a couple of guys through a 4 person combined Verde-ProLandscape crew, build some new skills in paver installation, irrigation, planter boxes, and drainage. And, do a project in our home community, providing great opportunities for outreach and education because we'll be there all day, every work day, for 2 weeks.

On that note and with Latino Network, we submitted a grant proposal to the City of Portland's Diversity & Civic Leadership Organizing Project, part of a broader Office of Neighborhood Involvement effort - spearheaded in part by Jeri Williams, former Ass Kicker/Exec. Director of the Environmental Justice Action Group - to connect low income and people of color communities to City decision-making. Well, Portland's an environmental/sustainability town, so if you're not participating in the City's environmental decisions, then you're missing out on a pretty fundamental aspect of civic engagement in these parts. So, this opportunity was a natural for us, and we'll see what happens.

In the shell of a nut(case), that's what we'd like to do: earn money from customers so as to put our constituency to work protecting the environment while earning a good living and benefits, then use that income and grant income to take that story - "there are good jobs in the environment, but mostly this low-income Latino community ain't getting any of 'em so what are we going to do about that?" - out to our vecinos...

We also put in a bid for wetland restoration, including annual maintenance, for the Blue Heron Park Home Owners Association (they paid for revegetation about 5 years ago, but haven't done adequate maintenance so the site is about to tip to the invasives, and it looks like this/that/that thing over there to the left:

Lastly, we've applied to the City's Watershed Investment Fund to expand our work at Smith & Bybee Lakes, restoring Columbia Sedge meadows (I know this picture used to be at the top of the blog, but it's so good - you can see the trees across the lake).


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

way down the river (where the blues began)

Well, it's been a while, and we've been busy working and playing (and a-playing and a-working...)

another couple of weeks, and - fortunately - another thing we wanted to do that kinda worked out. last week, we visited OR Valley Greenhouses in Aurora, OR, so we could learn how to assemble the Verde Courtyard Greenhouse (funded by a grant from Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods Grant Program). We hope to grow 500 native plants per year, providing the Crew with their first lessons and experiences running a plant production facility, lessons which will still apply as we move to larger-scale production in the next fiscal year.

Nursery Crew Members had many questions about greenhouse construction, and we took many photos of a constructed Quonset-style greenhouse, so we can use them as a reference for this or that aspect when we construct our own greenhouse in the next few weeks (today, the Crew is preparing the courtyard). Thanks to OVG's Jenny for her time and consideration.

Recently, we also moved a little further in our goal to be the contractor-of-choice for the many Portland-area groups active in wetland restoration, watershed protection, and the like. We did our first project with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council - an invasives removal project at Lovena Farms, an urban farm adjacent to Johnson Creek. Here some before and after photos:

and, please, be kind enough to check out our front page, because we've posted a new photo there, too (can you tell we got a new memory card for the camera?), an installation we did for the city of portland, where we were able to - get this - put 6 people to work...

yep yep