by: TYLER FRANCKE | WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - Multiple species of ivy and other invasive creeping plants are encroaching on the borders of Alvah G. Cowan Park, as well as a neighboring property.The rehabilitation of the city-owned Alvah G. Cowan Park in Woodburn will continue later this month, as a group of volunteers target invasive plants and aim to replace them with native species.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Settlemier Knot Garden Society, which adopted the park last year; the nonprofit ecological organization SOLVE, which has contributed a $100 grant to the project; and Michael Te, a Woodburn High School student and local Boy Scout who will be organizing his troop members and the other volunteers as part of his Eagle Scout service project.

“I knew I wanted to give back to the community and especially to the parks since I grew up using them,” said Te, who is expecting five to 10 volunteers from his troop to pitch in, and 10 to 20 overall. “So I went and spoke with Jim Row and Stu Spence and they brought this idea to my attention. I was totally for it.”

Pat Hyatt and Ellen Bandelow, both members of the garden society, said that the project’s main goal is to remove the English ivy plants that are encroaching on the park at all corners.

“You can’t have ivy plants growing up trees, because it kills them,” Hyatt said, standing in the park last week, adding that the plant is considered an invasive species in Oregon. “So we’ve designated that as a priority to get the park healthy again.”

Isabel Carlson lives next door to the park with her husband, Noah, who was involved with a “beautification project” last summer in which the city supplied topsoil and built a retaining wall at the park. Carlson said she has watched the ivy slowly take over.

“The ivy just spread like wildfire,” she said.

The clean-up day is scheduled for between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. April 26. The park is named after Woodburn’s first parks superintendent and is located at the intersection of Garfield Street and Settlemier Avenue. Those interested in volunteering should register on the SOLVE website at

For more information, email Hyatt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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