Depaving Paradise

Depave at Baltimore Woods

2012 PIC Grant, $50,000

“Promoting the removal of unnecessary pavement” is the first half Depave‘s mission statement. We’ve all seen our share of unnecessary pavement: A huge retail parking lot in front of the retail store that never seems to fill. The church with a parking lot bigger than a football field. And all those school yards that were paved over back in an era where maintenance was a bigger concern than greenspace. Depave works to return some of these previously paved urban spaces to a more natural state, creating community greenspaces and mitigating stormwater runoff. They also train a newly educated army of volunteers in the art of removing pavement.

In 2012, EMSWCD provided Depave with a $50,000 PIC grant to implement three depaving projects in the district. Each of the projects had its own unique character and goals. At the Word and Spirit Church in northeast Portland, volunteers retrofitted a parking lot to include stormwater infrastructure. Students and parents from North Portland elementary school James John removed parts of a huge playground and installed native landscaping in its place. Also in North Portland, a two-acre parking lot at Baltimore Woods Natural Area was removed and transformed into a native wildflower meadow and future oak woodland (they had a little professional help on that one, breaking from their volunteer-driven model due to the immense size of the lot). All in all, Depave facilitated the removal of more than 93,000 square feet of pavement while educating 275 volunteers about depaving techniques along the way. They’ve even put up how-to videos on their website, in case that driveway of yours is begging to be a new garden space.

A documentary about Depave’s project at St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a project in partnership with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Green Lents and Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and supported in part by a PIC grant from EMSWCD!

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Depave at Baltimore Woods