Two community gardens are slated to open in early May as the city’s initiative to create 1,000 new community garden plots by 2012 gains steam.

Scheduled to open May 7 is the Vermont Hills Garden in southwest Portland’s Hayhurst neighborhood (a 14-plot expansion of the established garden). One week later, the Furey Garden, located adjacent to Zenger Farm on SE Reedway between SE 117th and SE 119th, opens.

Mark White is a resident of the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood who assisted in the planning for Furey Garden. He says that neighborhood residents have, for many years, sought to convert the vacant lot into a park, but he is happy it is being put to use as a community garden.

He says the garden will help change the perception people have of the neighborhood from one that is primarily residential to one that is “food producing.”

Furey Garden will have 36 plots on a half acre of land. It is part of a two-and-a-half acre plot of land owned by the Bureau of Environmental Services, which leases the land for free to Zenger Farm.

Through collaboration with Zenger Farm, BES, the Parks Bureau and the neighborhood association, it was decided that a half acre of that land would be turned into a community garden.

The Vermont Hills Garden located in Hayhurst.
The Vermont Hills Garden located in Hayhurst.

“We’re excited about this one, because it is going to be a larger-sized garden in east Portland,” says Emily Hicks, City Commissioner Nick Fish’s policy coordinator in charge of Fish’s Community Gardens Initiative.

There are two additional community gardens in east Portland, both on SE 82nd Ave. “They’re both wildly popular,” Hicks says. “We’re expecting this garden to fill up quickly.”