“Don’t discount your town”

The West Keizer Neighborhood Association (WKNA) conducted a clean-up and gardening event at Wallace House Park on Saturday Oct. 28, in conjunction with the Claggett Creek Watershed Council.

With a dozen in attendance on the brisk morning, the crew performed a clean-up of the wooded area near the park, planted kinnnikinnick plants or bearberry—a common indigenous plant with a variety of medicinal uses—and created a small wood-framed path in an effort to make the area a little more charming and accessible.

Routine maintenance of wooded areas is important not only for area beautification, but it is needed for preventative forest health measures like the removal of English ivy.

An invasive plant species brought here by European immigrants, English ivy can grow on a tree for decades. It often smothers it and causes a weight imbalance making the falling of ivy-covered trees more likely during adverse weather events.

In addition to providing much needed forest maintenance, events like these offer volunteers a chance to bring everyone along and encourage care for your community from a young age.

One attendee, Planning Committee Chair Matt Lawyer, discussed his love of projects like these as has been participating in them for years, bringing his children to take part in the land beautification as well.

Another volunteer, Jeff Anderson, who came with his son, Wes, showed their appreciation for clean-up projects and providing wisdom with those involved.

Whether with playful banter, chats about community cohesion or lessons on the area and those famous from here, Anderson maintained a cohesive through line, “Don’t discount your town.”

Rhonda Rich, President of WKNA, described how clean-up events like this take place often around the community and how those interested in taking part can go to to sign up and learn more information.