Discover East Portland
East Portland is Portland—more people live here than in any other district. It's also easily Portland's most diverse area. It's home to the historic Gateway Business District, annual street fairs like the Ramona Street Fair in Lents, and the city's largest, LEED-certified aquatic facility, housed inside the East Portland Community Center. There are also wildlife scenes to take in during hikes around the 12-acre Knott Park, Powell Butte Nature Park, and part of the Boring Lava Field. And, the east also boasts the jewel of the city's urban farming community—the city-owned, nonprofit Zenger Farm, which has 10 acres of protected wetlands and another six dedicated to organic farming practices. Think of it as the city's agrarian classroom for budding ecologists, where outdoor lessons focus on eating healthy, locally and sustainably.
See and Do
Leach Botanical Garden
Dubbed Sleepy Hollow by original owners John and Lilla Leach, today’s Leach Botanical Garden beside Johnson Creek is inspired by the lives the couple led. Explorers, pioneers, scientists and artists, the bequest of their four-and-a-half-acre estate to the city “left us this extraordinary botanical collection and place of peace and rest,” explains David Porter, the executive director of Leach Garden Friends, which runs the day-to-day operations at Leach alongside a dedicated group of volunteers and supportive members. “It’s a completely unexpected, beautiful, small space” that provides “people a place to learn about the natural world around them,” he describes. For 30 years, the public garden has shared its bounty of more than 2,000 species of plants—a mix of Oregon flora alongside a historic collection, which features plants collected and discovered by Lilla, as well as other specialties like a vast fern collection, southeastern U.S. natives and more—with botany enthusiasts, solitude seekers and little learners. Regular classes and events, weddings, and a botanical library keep Leach buzzing with activity, but that’s not to say you can’t find a secluded nook by the old stone cabin or among the grounds that have grown to encompass almost 17 acres—and on six of which, the Friends are “just starting the second phase of development,” Porter explains. “The new garden improvements will allow people to see parts of our botanical collection unique to the high alpine regions of Oregon and Pacific Northwest mountain ranges that they wouldn’t be able to see any place else very easily.” Porter, without hesitation, summarizes: “Leach is Portland’s secret garden.” more...
A nonprofit urban farm with a mission to promote “sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship and local economic development,” Zenger Farm creates opportunities for future farmers of all ages to learn about “sustainable agriculture, wetland ecology, food security, healthy eating, and local economic development,” according to its website. With 10 acres of wetlands next to its 6-acre organic farming operation, you can attend workshops on food preservation or healthy eating on a budget, schedule a farm field trip for kids and adults alike, or tend to livestock. There's plenty of time to become a proficient farmer while you volunteer, but if you don't feel like getting your hands dirty, you can always support the farm by subscribing to its CSA program, which even accepts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. more...