I have been identifying neglected and unattractive parcels of land within the public right-of-way (next to public streets) and planting them with beautiful flower gardens. I started by organizing neighbors to plant 2,000 square feet of beds on the Sylvan overpass bridge, then found four turning circles in northwest Portland to beautify. By involving locals in these projects (I have done a total of ten over the past two years), I have found a way to create real joy not just among this (relatively) small number of volunteers, but among an amazing number of passers-by, who honk and wave and stop mid-road and talk and gush and thank us profusely. We are not just creating public beauty, but arguably a living art project, as well as a sense of community in all who are seeing us and our work.
For 2021, I am planning on applying with PBOT (the owner of these parcels) to take on projects along SE Division Street and at Coe Circle in NE Portland. I have also approached ODOT for permission to replace weeds with flowers on a parcel at the intersection of Powell and Milwaukie in southeast. Either way, whether in expanding onto new parcels or maintaining existing parcels, I will have ongoing expenses . . . for the sake of beauty!
Funded by Portland, OR (January 2021)