NEWS on Harbor View Park & the Edible Hillside

posted in: Fun, Garden, Neighborhood, Volunteer | 0

We are making steady progress thanks to the effort of many individuals and organizations – thank you all!

In July we planted six American Chestnut seedlings just up from Commercial St. at the western end of the Park under the guidance of Jeff Klak at UNE. See the articles in the West End News and the Press Herald.

Teachers at Waynflete School and Baxter Academy have expressed interest in working with us – possible projects include soil samples and signage for plants in beds. We have also talked with the Maine Historical Society about the possibility of having students interview neighbors of the park who recall the area before the building of the Casco Bay Bridge.

Seventy-Five State Street, a senior center in the West End, generously donated $100 towards plantings for the Edible Hillside. A group of residents from the center came to WENA’s annual picnic, which we held at Harbor View on a beautiful evening in August. The folks from 75 State brought two musicians to add to the celebration. We hope this is the first of many happy neighborhood events at Harbor View.

In late August, Pamela Shaw and Liz Parsons walked the park with Ethan Hipple, Portland’s Parks Director, and Jeff Tarling, the City Arborist. Shortly after that conversation Ethan arranged with the Parks Dept. to

  • Get a picnic table to Harbor View this year, and more as budgets allow.
  • Connect with the group that employs homeless people per diem to regularly clean the area under the bridge.

WENA has submitted a request to the city to include infrastructure improvements for Harbor View on the Parks 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), including

  • Better (LED) lighting under the bridge
  • Refacing the concrete stairs and circles with granite where the concrete facing is disintegrating
  • Stairs from the western circle down to the chestnut meadow and West Commercial St.
  • Stationary athletic equipment.
  • We presented these ideas to the Parks Commission in September, and were delighted to see them in the draft for the Parks 10 year CIP (see…) Funding is always dependent on the size of each year’s final City and Parks budget, so the projects are never a sure thing, but it’s an important step to get them in the queue.

We greatly appreciate all the support we have received from the City of Portland.

Now we are working on a plan for the plots for the Edible Hillside with Aaron Parker, who guided the planting for our first Planting Day last May. And we will be talking to landscape architects to identify someone

We will be holding a Work Day on October 7, the Saturday of the Columbus Day weekend, to complete the plots we started in the spring. Everyone who likes to dig and/or mess around in dirt is welcome – we’ll have snacks and drinks and good company!


  • Meet with Harbor View advisory group
  • Contact schools re soil samples and signage once we have plant lists from Aaron Parker
  • Solicit input and ideas from stakeholders about what they would like to see at Harbor View Park (neighbors, park users, etc.) through meetings and online
  • Identify a landscape architect to draw up a plan for the park as a whole
  • Develop additional funding for the park

It’s now possible to make donations to the Harbor View Park project through PayPal on the WENA website.

We welcome contributions of all sizes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Companion plants $10
  • Fruit bushes or small saplings: $25
  • Four signs for our new plots and plots in waiting: $100
  • Two big signs for park (next year) $1500-$2000
  • Plan for the whole park by landscape architect: $1000-$3000
  • Arbor/pergola at the eastern end of the York St. lawn $5000