Englewood Park to see new trees, shrubs after MLK day planting

Volunteers will plant more than 200 trees and shrubs in Englewood Park on Monday. (Courtesy/ Northeast Neighbors)

After years of removing invasive species, volunteers are about to give Englewood Park some new life.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, a group of volunteers will plant more than 200 native trees and shrubs in the park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1260 19th St. N.E.

In the past few years, Lynn Takata and other volunteers from the neighborhood association Northeast Neighbors have hacked away at invasive ivy and blackberry vines that plagued the park. Some blackberry vines were 9 feet tall, Takata said.

Now, volunteers are going to fill in the blanks with plants like vine maple, tall Oregon grape, red twig dogwood and ferns.

“In working collectively, we can imagine change and build community,” Takata said. “For me parks are a respite in turbulent times and can be for our neighborhood as well.”

Takata founded the Englewood Forest Festival, a yearly event for residents to enjoy music, art and environmental education in the summer.

Takata said the neighborhood association initially planned to plant a 500 square foot area of the park, but so many volunteers helped clear out invasive vines that Monday’s planting will span 5,000 square feet.

“We thought we’ll start small and be successful,” she said. “People have just really enjoyed coming out to help. That’s why we’ve been able to get a lot more done than we initially thought.”

Monday’s project is funded by a Salem Park Improvement Fund grant.

Jeremy Mills lives in the northeast Salem neighborhood and started volunteering at the park three years ago.

“This was an opportunity to improve the look of the neighborhood and provide an example of what people can do in their own yards,” he said.

Brian Smith, a project coordinator with the city of Salem, said most of the species being planted Monday will flower and attract pollinating insects.

Smith said volunteers should bring rain gear and sturdy work shoes or waterproof boots. Shovels, tools and gloves will be provided by the city.

Takata encourages anyone wishing to volunteer to RSVP by emailing [email protected] to ensure there’s enough snacks for everyone. So far, 30 people have signed up, she said.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250 or [email protected].