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Cedar Mill News
Volume 6, Issue 8


August 2008

...and the weeds are going going gone

Cornell Overlook
With the weeds cut down, the wetland is a lot more interesting. A pair of redtail hawks are nesting nearby.

The Cedar Mill Business Association (CMBA) decided last spring to tackle the weeds in the landscaping along Cornell Road. The effort got off to a bit of a slow start as we waited for the county to create the “Adopt-a-Landscape” program for communities like Cedar Mill who had county-installed landscaping but no maintenance.

CMBA members turned out for a couple of weeding parties, and made a good dent in the weeds along the north side of Cornell. But we were dismayed by the field of giant weeds on the other side of the fence at the overlook area between A Cut Above and Dale. After a little sleuthing, we found out that the owner of the property was none other than Washington County! A few emails later, and the county agreed that something needed to be done.

The area was originally planted with natives during the road construction project. It surrounds a branch of Cedar Mill Creek, which meanders southwest (and disappears under Highway 26) to finally connect with the main stream near Nike. But a combination of lack of water, possibly inadequate planting, and no maintenance resulted in an overgrown eyesore that would have thwarted our efforts to keep the street-side of the fence in a tidy condition.

The county hired Ash Creek Forest Management LLC (ashcreekforestry.com) to clear away the brush and develop a plan to manage the site. Their contract with the county calls for them to clear vegetation that is either dry, dead or not intended to be planted at the site. This work will was performed the week of July 21st, and it looks a lot better already. Then they will irrigate or develop a best plan to revive some Western redcedars along the east property line, provide mulch to the base of trees and shrubs to aid their survival, and conduct a follow-up inspection to asses existing conditions and decide if additional planting is necessary. If more planting is necessary, it will be done in the fall when our normal rainfall will help the plants get established. It’s not expected that any additional irrigation will be needed, since well-planted natives grow in our normal conditions without it.

But the medians on Cornell and Barnes are another story altogether. We were not allowed to work in the medians without a special permit, which had not yet been defined. Of course it is more dangerous to work out in traffic, and the county is rightly concerned about liability.

Last month, after another inquiry, we were informed that three or four of our members would be expected to attend a four-hour safety class in September so we could be certified to direct traffic. Not much hope for those weeds this summer, then. But that seemed like an awfully high bar to set for a group of busy folks who just wanted to clean up some weeds.

Eventually the county people agreed, and their crews will be doing the median work during the first weekend of August (probably it will be done by the time you read this). After that, they will provide us with traffic control twice a year, and all we need to do is show up and pull weeds. We can do that!

The CMBA has “adopted” the landscaping along Cornell between Saltzman and Murray. We’re hoping that another organization or business will adopt the medians on Barnes. But we’re very happy that the county is stepping in to help us in our effort to make our downtown more pleasant for everyone.

Now don’t get mad at the county, it’s really not their fault. Traditionally they have been in the business of providing “county-wide” services, and weeding roadsides isn’t in their job description. But Cedar Mill’s Town Center is different, and this is being recognized more and more as the county examines its policies and our realities. The Urbanization Forum series is one of the ways they are attempting to find the answers for the long term. But we’re very glad that some county people have realized that our weeds are growing in the short term, and all we need is their help to take care of them.



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Published monthly by Cedar Mill Advertising & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229