Portland Parks & Recreation and the Bureau of Environmental Services are collaborating at Irving Park to create nature patches and rain gardens that will capture rainwater, foster habitat for wildlife, and add natural features to enjoy. Nature patches added to developed parks transform shady, under-utilized areas of parks into vibrant nature patches that park visitors can enjoy as wildlife, plants, and insects thrive.

Thanks to PP&R’s  Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative, which began in 2017, Irving and Midland Parks will see new natural landscaping sprouting this fall. The improvement builds on the success of completed nature patches thriving at Alberta, Gabriel, Lents, Hazeltine, Wilshire, Fernhill, and Columbia Parks.

Several areas on the west side of Irving Park – the slopes around the basketball courts and between the dog-off-leash-area and picnic areas – will be converted to natural landscaping that will include flowering native plants, stormwater swales, rain gardens, logs, boulders, split-rail fencing, and pathways.

Nature patches and rain gardens will capture the large volume of rain that flows off the park’s hilly and compacted terrain. Capturing rainwater is especially important during storms to reduce flooding in nearby streets and to help prevent the public sewer system from being overwhelmed by stormwater.

The project will bring nature to the neighborhood that works to protect public health and the environment by helping prevent flooding, sewer backups into basements, and overflows into the Willamette River during heavy rain.

Landscaping to create the nature patches will begin this fall and planting will take place over this coming winter. The City welcomes neighbors to volunteer and help install the thousands of plants needed to complete the garden spaces. For more information on the project and to sign up for a planting party, you can visit the webpage (www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/761844) or contact the project manager, Eric Rosewall, at eric.rosewall@portlandoregon.gov or 503-341-0855.