|Parkrose resident Marcy Emerson-Peters spearheads Johnsons Lake Project
Three neighborhoods work together to clean up long-neglected natural resource and former playground
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
The city of Portland acknowledges that Johnsons Lake is a worthy resource that something should be done about.
Parkrose resident Marcy Emerson-Peters wants them to go ahead and do it.
Thats why she has recruited the Cully, Parkrose and Sumner neighborhoods into spearheading the Johnsons Lake Project. People are still fiddle-faddling around, as far as I can tell, Emerson-Peters says. Theres been sporadic work, but no ones coordinating it. Our plan is to coordinate everyones efforts and speed up the process.
The 2.5-acre lake lies east of I-205 between Columbia Boulevard and Airport way. It was indeed Johnsons Lake, long owned by Harry Johnson, and was a favorite fishing and gathering place, sporting, among other things, a dance hall, a floating dock, and a still. Aldo Rossi and his cronies used to hang out there, Emerson-Peters recalls. She herself swam and fished there as a child. It was our playground, and we still think of it as a special place, she says.
Things began to change in the 1940s. First, the dance hall burned down. Then, the Vanport Flood dumped gunk on the lake, and it was never the same afterward, Emerson-Peters says. Worse was yet to come with steady polluting by industrial firms. The building of the I-205 Freeway reduced access to it, and part of the lake was filled in. Fishing ceased when sores were noticed on the fish left alive.
Of the current use, Emerson Peters says, It should be something other than a homeless camp and a place for teenagers to party.
The situation is improving. In 1996 Metro purchased half the lake from Johnsons daughter Dorothy Thoreson, and the following year 1,000 cedars and cottonwoods were planted to help buffer the noise from I-205. Other reclamation efforts have been undertaken. Emerson-Peters would like those efforts to be more intense and more focussed.
I dont like the idea of things being done four or five years out, she said. There are people nearby who dont even know this is there, and its just on the other side of the freeway from them. There are beavers, ducks, and all kinds of wildlife. Its right on the bike trail. It fits in with everyones plans for a place where people can take a break and enjoy the outdoors.
For those who feel as Emerson-Peters does and want to lend a hand, she can be reached by e-mail at Johnsonslake@hotmail.com. A web site is http://www.deq.or.us/wmc/ecsi/ecsidetail.asp?seqnbr=2086.
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