Welcome to the home page for the Humboldt Hedgerow project.
We are Humboldt neighborhood members and Portland Public School students working together to increase the livability and viability of Oregon native wildlife through creating a native plant habitat and providing a living laboratory for education, inspiration and preservation along the south edge of Jefferson High School Practice Field.
The history of this 2 acre field after logging in the 1800’s includes it’s use as a 100 million gallon Natural Gas and Coke holding tank, until the late 1950’s when it was transferred to Jefferson High School as practice field for sport teams. In 1970 the field bathroom/ clock house was added, along with the cyclone fencing between the neighboring houses, N. Kerby and N. Humboldt streets. With the change in Jefferson High structure to the Academy model, lowering enrolled students, and the closing of adjacent Humboldt Grade School, the field now is used by community sport teams renting the field through Portland Parks and daily by neighbors.
The Jefferson Arboretum consists of a row of Oregon native conifers on the south edge of the field and a row of native Garry Oak planted on the Alberta street north edge. These trees were planted by the Sustainability Club of Jefferson High, winning the Bill Naito Award for tree planting in 2008. Portland Parks maintains the trees as part of the Learning Landscape program, described in this brochure link:
Since 2008 the conifers planted along the field at Humboldt Street have grown to be be a valued part of Humboldt neighborhood.
During group soccer and rugby games, teams use these trees as a place to sit in the shade, recover from exercise and take a time out. The player’s families can now sit in the shade to cheer the team.
Neighborhood daycare, summer camp schools and families needing free outdoor play, nature exploration or to cool off from summer heat, love the Jefferson Arboretum! Humboldt neighborhood has no large park or open area south of North Killingsworth street and this field has served for generations as a green, outdoor gathering spot.
However, neighbors noticed that nuisance and invasive species had to be sprayed with herbicides every few years to keep them from taking over the field under IPM strategies. If school maintenance did not have time or personnel to do this,the vines covered the fences forming an impenetrable barrier. When the berries and vines were too high in summer, kids, bikes and cars could not be seen. Safety issues and the need for clear site lines for children and parents, dog walkers and bicyclists accessing the Blandena bike way to Vancouver became a big concern.
Kids and adults who had no understanding of the living nature of native trees pealed bark and pulled branches from them. visitors new to the neighborhood saw the field as a “vacant” lot, available for leaving trash which neighbors had to pick up.
Creating the Humboldt Hedgerow is a response to all these issues.
The Humboldt Hedgerow is planned as a low height mixed planting designed to control the nuisance and invasive species without chemicals, promote the health of the Jefferson Arboretum through native plant associations, encouraging bees, butterflies and birds to forage along this natural interface of neighborhood and school community. It will serve as a native ecology learning lab for use by Jefferson science classes and other school students. Through adding native Portland plants following the guidelines of the Portland Native Plant list of Multnomah County, native plants of the HH will protect the investment and health of the Jefferson Arboretum.
Many thanks to the following people and organizations that have helped and advised our process:
Galen Beatty of East Multnomah Soil and Water District, Heather Buley and Nikki West of Back Yard Habitats, The PTSA and SITE councils of Jefferson High School, the Humboldt Neighborhood Association, Nancy Bond of the Portland Public Schools Environmental Resources, Principal Margret Calvert, Portland Public Parks representatives, Storm Water Abatement advisor Danny Kapsch, Mulysa Melco of Resilience Design and many more friends and neighbors.
Want to join our project? Sign in on the contact form to receive progress reports and notice of work days!