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Luke Westphal and Caprielle Barlow both graduated from Willamette University last spring…she in bio/chem, he in environmental science.  For his senior thesis project Luke designed an area in the ODOT right of way under the Mission Street fly-over

in which his idea was to rid the creek bank of the invasive species growing there (mostly blackberry and cherry laurel), and replace them with native plants.  His thesis project was completed, and he was graduated in May.  His professor Joe Bowersox applied for a grant to actually “build” the project, and hired Luke to do the work.  Luke said luckily ODOT came with a “blade” and scraped away much of the blackberry…

Today, in the steady freezing downpour, Luke and Caprielle were working like demons to prepare the holes for planting.  Planting day is Wednesday.  I’d been watching the ground being worked and the little flags appear, and stopped today to see what was happening.

Luke and Caprielle said that in clearing the space they displaced some local transient residents along the creek who moved on when the project started.  (Luke said they left their garbage for him though…) I’ll get the whole plant list Wednesday from them…maybe 9-11 varieties of plants.  If you’re out and about, drive by and say hello to a couple of people making a difference.

And here’s the addendum and historic perspective.  Just about across the street from where Luke and Caprielle are working stood the Queen Anne cottage known historically as the Carmelita Barquist house, originally at the corner of 14th and Mission…BEFORE the fly-over:

(Note the little house on the left in the ’85 picture…center of the 2010 picture…for context)

In 1987 in preparation for the construction of the overpass many small houses were razed, but the Barquist house was purchased by Roy and Hazel Patton and moved onto Court Street:

Even without a blog in 1987,  my reporting instincts were in play…???