West Keizer Neighborhood Association planting at Willamette Manor Park

The outskirts of Willamette Manor Park may be looking a little different after a planting project at the northeast end of the park.

Members of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association planted 135 kinnikinnick plants, also known as bearberries, on the edge of the park bordering the backyard of the neighboring home of Carol Phipps, who wrote the grant and led the project. 

“The biggest thing is it just looks a ton better and it’s good for the park,” Phipps said. 

Phipps said that people in the park passing by have commented on how much better the area now looks. 

The initial estimate for the project was 20-man hours, but Phipps estimates the project will total 65-70 hours of labor once finished. The weeding to get the area ready took around 16 hours over the course of three sittings on its own, and filled Phipps’ green waste recycling bin to the brim. 

Others that helped Phipps with the project included Rhonda Rich, Carolyn Homen, Tom Homen, Kathy Lincoln and Dennis Phipps. 

Kinnikinnick grow to about 30 centimeters in height and bush out wide. Phipps expects the plants to touch once they grow out and cover the hill. 

Phipps said they chose kinnikinnick for a number of reasons. It is a native plant to Oregon, it is somewhat drought tolerant and loves the sun, and is pet and kid friendly. 

Another advantage to the plant is that it is known to attract bees which, while some may find a nuisance, is vital to sustaining the current ecosystem.