Parks and Open Space

State and city planning goals addressed by the actions recommended in this section:

  • Economic Opportunities
  • Climate Change
  • Neighborhood Livability
  • Natural Resources
  • Civic Engagement, Public Participation and Collaborative Implementation

The Greenway

Willamette River Greenway

Willamette River Greenway

Thanks largely to the River Road Community Organization, the River Road neighborhood has a good working relationship with the City. One important part of that cooperation with the City is helping maintain the Greenway to avoid use of herbicides and pesticides. In addition, there are several working agreements between residents of River Road and the City about helping to look after sections of the Greenway.

Citizen “adopted” sections along the Greenway include Rasor Park, The Filbert Grove, the end of Oakleigh where it meets the bike path, the area around the Hillcrest and Hilliard bike spurs (where a new information kiosk will be built and stone benches already in place), Heron Pond and Maynard Park. These areas covered by partnership agreements with the City constitute a significant part of the Greenway.

The filbert grove at the end of McClure Street is a great example of city/citizen cooperation. The 65 tree filbert grove has been reclaimed from being overgrown with ivy and blackberries to become a useful source of filberts for anyone to collect. The City has been a great partner with the Park Stewards program, helping to organize work parties and providing tools and snacks to work party participants. Young people from Marist High School, UO student organizations and church youth groups have participated in work parties while also learning about local food security and providing a community service.

Discussions in recent years between the City and River Road residents have included the idea of using parts of the Greenway, where appropriate, for new plantings of fruit and nut trees along with edible understory. These fruit and nut tree “food forest” plantings could, over time, become important assets to help bring about local food security, like the filbert grove.

River Road residents have approached the city about two areas in or near the Greenway with potential use for food production. One centers on the Filbert Grove which has space for more fruit and nut trees, and the other would see part of Maynard Park used for fruit and nut trees and gardens. Designating parts of these areas for food production would be a considerable contribution to local food security and serve as a model for similar agreements elsewhere in Eugene and Oregon. Potential partners might include Food for Lane County and Eugene Area Gleaners.

Note: See Beacon Hill Food Forest in Seattle, Washington. A citizen/city project in Seattle that pioneers urban food production on public property.

Greenway Action

  • The City and River Road should continue discussions and working together to avoid the use of herbicides and insecticides.
  • Discussion about planting fruit and nut trees and gardens in certain parts of the Greenway should move forward.
  • Prohibit the use of herbicides and pesticides in the Green Way and neighborhoods. Seventy five percent of the earth’s insect population has died off. The ecosystem and our food supply demand that we turn this around. There is no justification for the use of neonicotinoids and we should bar them from the neighborhood.
  • Plants should be cultivated that support important insect populations.
  • Continue collaboration with the neighborhood to remove invasive species and improve natural habitat for pollinators and all native species.

Other Parks and Open Spaces

 

Rosetta Park

There exists considerable interest in keeping Rosetta Park herbicide and pesticide free. Over the years, there has been help from neighbors with weeding the tree wells instead of the City using herbicides on the weeds.

Rosetta Park Action

The City should continue to acknowledge the herbicide issue and inform those interested in helping with the park what they need to do to keep the park herbicide free.

Summary

River Road’s parks and open spaces, especially the Greenway with the bike path, filbert grove, Rasor Park and other locations, are wonderful amenities to the neighborhood. They deserve to be protected, restored and enhanced.
The history of collaboration between the City and neighborhood is highly valued by RRCO and many neighborhood residents and offers itself as a point of departure for further cooperation.

For almost two miles, the east side boundary of River Road is the Willamette River. Most of that distance along the river is public property known as the Green Way. The Green Way varies in distance from the river from less than 100 feet up to 300 feet. The bike path is a favorite amenity to the Green Way along with some useful habitat areas. None of the Green Way is totally natural. There are a number of invasive plant species. Still, the area along the river is a popular location in the neighborhood.

Rasor Park, the Filbert Grove, the area around Heron Pond and Maynard Park have all benefited by city – citizen collaborations. These collaborations are formalized by written agreements between The City and residents that outline the nature of the collaborations. Work is accomplished by citizen volunteers that would not otherwise be taken care of.

 

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