Ecova Employees Tackle the Tangle On Portland Trails

Brenda Hinau

On Tuesday, June 19th, twelve co-workers from the Portland office participated in one of Ecova’s Impact Community Service Day events, one of many held throughout the year across our organization.

This particular event was coordinated through Portland Parks & Recreation and Friends of Marquam Nature Park. Marquam Nature Park is minutes from our downtown office and provides 176 acres of lush beautiful landscape in the heart of the city with over five miles of hiking trails that tie into the Portland 40-Mile Loop trail system. Our mission for the day was to clear invasive species and perform trail maintenance.

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Armed with hand clippers, large loppers and the strength of our own muscles, we set off to conquer the English Ivy that thrives in our Pacific Northwest climate. English Ivy originated in Europe, where the climate controls the growth of this vibrant plant; in the Northwest, though, it grows out of control, killing the trees it climbs and causing erosion problems. Our team worked tirelessly throughout the morning to clear roughly six-foot areas from around the base of large evergreen trees and remove the tenacious plant from around native ferns, Oregon grape and trillium plants. Throughout the morning’s efforts our hosts, Portland Parks & Recreation’s, Rachel and 20-year volunteer veteran, Robin, educated us on the park system, the plant species, and why the work we were doing was so important to our ecosystem.

After a well-deserved lunch break we set off with Jeff from Portland Parks & Recreation, armed with a new and rather scary-looking set of tools to perform trail abatement deep into the park, clearing vegetation from switchbacks and re-leveling portions of the trail. This work was dirty and physical, and we office dwellers loved every minute of it!

As part of its benefits package, Ecova sponsors one day every year for each Ecova staff to volunteer at a community organization of his/her choice. Ecova has provided us all a great opportunity to make a difference in our community and I’m proud to say we did! Our work creates a safer environment for the park users, keeps the native plants strong and protects our ecosystem. Throughout the day the hikers, joggers and dog walkers using the trail recognized our efforts and expressed their genuine appreciation.

It felt great to all of us to accomplish something that benefits so many and exemplifies our Ecova values.

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