Gateway Signs, Restoration Updates, and a Work Party this Saturday!
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March 2016


Coming Activities

Restoration Work Party This Saturday

Saturday, March 18, 8:45 to noon. Join us! See details in right-hand column

Shamrock Run This Sunday

Sunday, March 19, 8:15 to 11:30 am. The northbound traffic lane of the Parkway will be closed from Capitol Highway all the way to Sam Jackson Parkway/Sheridan for the 15k and Half options in the annual Shamrock Run.

Soil School

Saturday April 8, 8 am to 4 pm at PCC Rock Creek Campus. This day full of information for landscapers, gardeners, grounds managers, and anyone who wants to improve their soil is sponsored by West Multnamah Soil & Water Conservation District. See their website for more information and to register.

Why Terwilliger Gateway Signs?

Friends of Terwilliger President Anton Vetterlein describes why we need well-designed
signage to help identify just what
Terwilliger Parkway is.
That's a prerequisite for effective preservation!

    Until 2012, Terwilliger Parkway had no identifying signage or markers despite its historic, scenic, recreational, and environmental significance and increasing popularity. Gateway signs at key entry points will better identify and distinguish the Parkway and raise public awareness of Terwilliger as a park-way rather than just a road through the forest. To fully appreciate and support the parkway people need to be able to identify it. Every day hundreds of walkers, runners, cyclists, and sightseers travel along the parkway. The absence of a complete set of signs to identify and educate its users is a missed opportunity.

    Most Portlanders know Terwilliger Boulevard (the actual road through the parkway) from its standard street-name signs. But too few know that a corridor of land on either side of the roadway is a City of Portland park (together they make up the “parkway”.) Fewer still know that nationally famous Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects conceived the parkway and laid out the road over 100 years ago with the intent of creating a scenic pleasure drive connecting downtown Portland to the hills and forests to the south. It was designed with carriages and automobiles in mind and immediately became popular for its views over the city. Over subsequent years it has become increasingly popular with walkers, runners, and bicyclists, not just because of its views and gentle grade but also for the forest and natural beauty that has grown up along it.

 Terwilliger Parkway’s beneficial qualities go beyond just recreation and scenery. By preserving and connecting parks and natural areas it provides clean water to the Willamette River and habitat for native plants and animals. It preserves downtown Portland’s iconic forested backdrop while offering views over the city. And it connects communities. Starting on the south edge of downtown Portland, it provides access to the medical complexes on Marquam Hill and winds through the Homestead and Hillsdale neighborhoods. Terwilliger Parkway does all these valuable things quietly and without fanfare. Yet it faces increasing challenges that gradually erode its benefits. Excessive car volumes and speeds, insensitive development, trash and graffiti, invasive plants, unauthorized activities such as camping, and, significantly, neglect by the City because of budget limitations, bureaucratic silos, and lack of a strong constituency. But how do you get people to care about a place if they can’t identify or define it?

    Friends of Terwilliger have targeted three important projects to better identify Terwilliger Parkway, for greater awareness of its location, character, and benefits. The first is Gateway Signs, second is Interpretive Signs, and third is restoration and extension of the Historic Streetlights. We will discuss the latter two in other newsletters. Our Gateway Sign goal covers the three most visible entrances:
  > North, at the Duniway Park entrance, a sign was built in 2012 to honor the Parkway Centennial,
  > South, just north of Barbur at SW 7th, site preparation for a sign was done adjacent to a BES bioswale, and
  > Central, in the recently reconstructed island at the Capitol Highway intersection.

    The Central and South signs will utilize the same design and construction as the existing North sign. Additional stone elements that were designed but not built will be added if we can raise enough money.

    Friends of Terwilliger has not undertaken a capital project like this before. We have mostly played an advocacy role and coordinated invasive plant removal and restoration along the parkway. We have come to realize that our advocacy is limited by a lack of understanding and appreciation for what Terwilliger Parkway is. Please stay tuned for more news about our developing fundraising campaign to build additional gateway signs.

    Let us know if you would like to help with this campaign.  And thanks for being a Friend of Terwilliger!

Our New Board Member

    Carol Henry, our new Board member and Treasurer, was talked into this volunteer job by former Treasurer, Cathy Turner, while they canvassed neighborhoods for Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) and pulled ivy together. A strong and positive bonding experience!
    Carol is relatively new to Portland, having relocated with her husband Tim from Bethesda, Maryland in 2014. She and Tim live on SW Condor Avenue and often walk along Terwilliger for exercise and the enjoyment of being outside. She has found that FOT work parties are a great way to learn about the parkway, get rid of ivy and invasives, and allow multiple generations to work together improving our neighborhood – from Cub Scouts to old folks.
    An area Carol would like to see improved for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even motorists, is the part of SW Condor connecting to Terwilliger: without a side walk and with lots of ivy and invasives.
    Carol has a scientific background, working as a toxicologist in environmental health science and public health. She is pleased to be able to help FOT as Treasurer and looks forward to meeting other FOT members.

Grant Updates

    Friends of Terwilliger (FOT) continues to partner in restoration grants awarded in SW Portland. As a founding member of the West Willamette Restoration Partnership (WWRP), we help define the restoration parameters to measure and areas to target for invasive plant removals, as well as coordinating and doing restoration work.

    WWRP was formed in 2009 as "a community effort to rescue the forested hills of Southwest Portland from invasive plants." The WWRP area adjacent to Terwilliger Parkway includes Marquam Nature Park, Keller Woodlands, George Himes Park, and the natural areas of the OHSU property. Invasive plants recognize no ownership borders, so we're happy to be part of this larger group sharing a love of our forest in the city. WWRP leverages the combined knowledge and efforts of all partners when seeking funding for coordinated restoration. For more WWRP information, see:
  > A great WWRP story map by PSU student Andrew Addessi, (click on this link, then scroll through the story)
  > A list of all WWRP partners.

    Here is a brief update on recent and current grants obtained with WWRP partners.

Connecting Portland's Urban Forest

    This 3-year project funded by Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods program was approved in late 2015, with a goal of enhancing 85 acres in Terwilliger Parkway, Marquam Nature Park, and Keller Woodlands. The main Parkway portion consists of 25 acres of forest and mature oak habitat near the intersection with SW Campus Drive. Restoration activities include removing invasives with volunteers and with hired crews when the terrain is too steep or difficult. Last fall’s storms made a particularly challenging time for restoration work, but most of the planned initial treatment of invasives was completed. See the overall project description, covered area map, and explanation of the limited use of pesticides, at the WWRP website.

    Together with Homestead Neighborhood Association, we soon begin working with students from the Art + Science Initiative at Pacific NW College of Arts to design signage and learning tools, showcasing benefits of this forested habitat and explaining work in progress. Signs will be at a demonstration site at the north end of the Parkway.

Healthy Watershed Engagement

    This grant, funded by West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District in 2015, was completed in 2016. A listening model was designed to hear neighbors' attitudes and experience restoring their property and to offer relevant resources. Opportunities ranged from simply keeping in touch with FOT and our activities to gaining Backyard Habitat certification. FOT members, along with co-applicant Friends of Marquam Nature Park for Marquam neighbors, visited over 400 homes and had one-on-one conversations with 124 owners, who all expressed interest in learning more. Most Terwilliger neighbors like living close to forested trails, viewpoint vistas and wildlife, and use the Parkway for recreation and exercise at least weekly. A shared challenge, however, was lack of time for work-intensive invasives removal, or even for learning more about ways to accomplish that goal.

Community Natural Area Stewardship

    This  2-year grant, funded in 2016 by Metro's Nature in Neighborhoods program, builds on the above Watershed Engagement grant. Its total area includes 20 acres of public and private land in and near Terwilliger Parkway's George Himes Park. Recognizing the time and tools limitations mentioned by many residents during the above-described Watershed Engagement project, specific approaches and partners will be offered to neighbors interested in restoration efforts, including: conservation planning assistance, financial incentives, and volunteer work-party offerings in the immediate area.  Social media will enhance personal stories and use community networks to highlight restoration benefits. In addition, 30 volunteer leaders will be trained as part of the Urban Watershed Mentor Program to engage neighbors across the project areas ongoing restoration education and efforts.

    FOT will host a total of 4 restoration work parties in George Himes Park as part of this project: removing invasives, planting natives, providing input for education signs highlighting work in progress, and connecting neighbors with resources in the community.

In This Issue

Work Party this Saturday
Why Terwilliger Gateway Signs?
New Board Member
Restoration Grants
Counting Terwilliger Users

Volunteer on Terwilliger!


Sat., March 18, 8:45 - noon

Meet at SW Terwilliger and 
Hamilton St.

We'll be planting this week, with our friends from the Homestead neighborhood.

As always, we provide the tools, gloves, and snacks.

You bring your energy and passion for the Parkway!

And we all have a good time!

Future Work Saturday Parties:
Saturday mornings, 9 - 12
April 15 - Ivy removal in
         George Himes Park
April 22 - An extra work party
         with SOLV for Earth Day!
May 20 - Ivy removal in
         Terwilliger Parkway

Then a break for summer, 
resuming September 16

Questions? email

Counting Active People

    From our interviews with neighbors, we know that many locals walk, run, and bike through the Parkway. But can you guess how many?

    We have some insight there, from helping over the past several years with the annual city-wide trail counts. Here are a few results from 2012 through 2016 Terwilliger counts in the Parkway:

    84     active users per hour
  50/50  bike/pedestrian split
  60/40  male/female split

   Naturally, there's a big variation in results from year to year, depending on weather and other activities.
   Highest count: 168 per hour during evening commute hours in 2014.
   Lowest count:   24  per hour during a very rainy Saturday last September.

    Let us know if you would like more information, or if you would like to help with counting in 2017. The city-wide “Trail Counts,” which are part of a nation-wide survey, happen in one week each September. There is also an annual summer count of bicycles that allows the volunteers more flexibility in setting the days on which they count.
More Volunteer

Terwilliger Photos
Do you snap photos of Terwilliger sights as you walk along? Feel free to share them with us, for use in our website, newsletters, and other communications. Email them to us along with notes (when/where taken, etc), and any "photo by" name you'd like included when they are used. If there's a good story that goes with the picture, we'd love to have that to accompany the posted photo.
Terwilliger Creek Stairs  12/2016

Use your skills in writing, design, or organization to help improve our communications with present and future Terwilliger Parkway fans.

Opportunities are available for all aspects of newsletter production as well as for making ongoing website updates.

Entrance Sign Champions
Help address that common question "Where is Terwilliger Parkway?" See the article in this issue for  background. Contact if you have interest in (or comments on) any aspect of this effort.

Stewardship Events
Help plan, promote, or staff the garden tour and other community events associated with our Community Natural Area Stewardship grant from Metro.

Ivy Removal / Restoration Workers
Join a crew, lead a crew, or help planning priorities and monitoring results

Email with any questions, suggestions, or interest in joining one of these efforts.

Who We Are


Friends of Terwilliger is an active group of volunteers dedicated to protecting and enhancing the scenic corridor character of Terwilliger Parkway. Learn more about the organization and the history of the Parkway on our website.

Questions or suggestions? Email


We are registered 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.  All donations go directly to support our restoration, advocacy and outreach efforts.
Donate online:
Donate by mail: Send a check payable to “Friends of Terwilliger” to
     16 SW Canby St.
      Portland, OR  97219

Have a Fred Meyer Rewards card? Help us earn corporate donations by enrolling in Fred Meyer's Community Rewards program. Just follow this link, select "Re-enroll or Link your card now", and select organization code 86183 for Friends of Terwilliger. The regular reward points and rebates you earn for your own use won't be reduced - but we'll earn a share of their community donations.

Our Partners

We are one of the  founding members of West Willamette Restoration Partnership, an active coalition of community groups, landowners and organizations working to enhance the natural areas of SW Portland.


Portland Parks & Recreation manages the Terwilliger Parkway natural areas. We all benefit from their skills at restoring and preserving natural areas, making these areas welcoming to residents and visitors, and helping volunteer citizen groups achieve our joint objectives.


West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District
Start at the home page of their website for a wealth of information on native and invasive plants. This organization also funded our recently completed neighbor outreach campaign.


Southwest Watershed Resource Center links SW Portland residents to useful programs and information on invasives, native plants, and storm water management, and related resources.

Alternative Community Service/Multnomah County crews provide over 400 hours of work yearly to the Parkway. Participants work with non-profits and government agencies as an alternative to jail time, a way to "payback" for misdemeanors, reinstate driver's licenses or convert fines through Project Clean Slate. We see positive changes on the landscape and in a person, even in a single day, when we work alongside them.

Copyright © 2017 Friends of Terwilliger, All rights reserved.

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