We believe that Salem should have vibrant and beautiful public landscapes that inspire and nurture the regional community. To help achieve that vision, we created the Mission Street Parks Conservancy, which exists to help the City of Salem preserve, maintain, enhance, and interpret the iconic public landscapes on and near Mission Street for current and future generations.

OUR GOALS

Preserve

To protect the parks’ integrity by preserving the parks’ boundaries, historic context, and plant communities.

Maintain

To care for the parks’ plant material to the highest aesthetic and health standards.

Interpret

To collect, preserve and make accessible records relating to the history of the parks and their plant material, to educate the public, and to facilitate research and appreciation.

Enhance

To assist in the development and implementation of thoughtful, sensitive improvements to the parks’ design, hardscape, and plant material that increase their access, attractiveness, and research value.

Today, we work primarily in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park. In the future, we hope to make a contribution to parks and public landscapes throughout Salem.

Mission Street Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose work is made possible primarily by generous donations of money, technical expertise, and volunteer time from Salem residents and business, as well as from government and foundation grants.

The Conservancy is negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement with City of Salem Public Works Department for the care of plant material in Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park.

Our Leadership

Gretchen Carnaby

Gretchen is a garden designer who has contributed over 30 years of leadership and expertise to Salem’s public landscapes, including Deepwood and Bush’s Pasture Park. She is co-founder of Friends of Bush Gardens, the Lord & Schryver Conservancy, and the Salem Hardy Plant Society.  In addition to bringing plants and people together, Gretchen is passionate about protecting wild, natural places.

Lindsey Kerr

Lindsey Kerr is a horticulturist, historic preservationist, and public gardens professional. Her passion is connecting people and plants, and believes strongly in the restorative power of nature in the health and well-being of people and community. She serves on the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission and the Salem Cultural and Heritage Forum.

Karl Roth

Karl Roth has over twenty years of experience in the fields of architectural and environmental design and has worked on residential and commercial projects across the country. Outside of architecture, Karl enjoys reading, fine art, and exploring the world with his wife and young children.

Shirley Rogers

Kathy Savicki

Kathy is a clinical social worker, newly retired after a long career developing and managing mental health programs. She was a founding member of Salem Hardy Plant Society and volunteered with Friends of Bush Garden. A native Oregonian, Kathy spends as much time as possible tending her large country garden in the Eola Hills.

Michael Slater

Michael Slater is an organizer, advocate, and nonprofit executive. He has over twenty years’ experience in nonprofit organizations that have worked to address problems of inequality. Outside of work, Michael is passionate about public landscapes, environmental policy, and urban design.

Ellen Jenson Stevens

Ellen Jenson Stevens has a long history of service to the community since moving to Salem in 1974.  Currently, she serves on the Historic Preservation, Parks, and Gardens Committee of the South Central Association of Neighbors (SCAN), whose boundaries include Bush’s Pasture Park and Pringle Park. Ellen is also a long-time volunteer and board member of the Salem Public Library Foundation.

Leslie Coleman Zeigen

Leslie has been very active in community affairs since moving to Salem 40 years ago. She co-founded and served as board chair of Friends of Bush Gardens. Leslie helped lead the campaign to save and restore the historic Elsinore Theatre in 1981. She currently serves on both the Salem Art Association and Willamette Heritage Center boards.
Donors & Members
Jim & Joann Ahmed
Anonymous
Brada & Tom Bailey
Keith & Madge Bauer
Wilbur Bluhm
Mary Casey
Compton Family Foundation
David & Pat Delapp
Edna Denton
Anita Engberg
Patricia Fisher
Elysabeth Hall
Roger & Nadine Heusser
Bonnie & Roger Hull
Kay Knott
Gene & Lori Larson
Linda Lew
Charles & Margie May
John Miller
Sally & Rob Miller
Ron Miner
Kay Mumper
Betty O’Brien
Bonnie & Chuck Peter
Jackie Pierce
Sharlyn Rayment
Dan and Karen Sewell
Shirley Richards
Michael Slater
Tom and Ellen Stevens
Patricia Tilley
Garden Volunteers
Deb Alexander
Joe Alexander
Bob Bailey
Tula Bornholdt
Jenna Calk
Gretchen Carnaby
Christine Chute
Edna Denton
Carel DeWinkel
Woody Dukes
Anita Engberg
Clementina Evans
Anne Teeling
Liz Hamer
Gayle Meaders
Mary Nonamaker
Walter Perry
Gary Pullman
Anne Raney
Jay Raney
Barbara Roach
Susan Russell
Kathy Savicki
Jim Schomaker
Donna Shepard
Patti Sieg
Michael Slater
Dolores Wisbrock
Chet Zenone
Professional Services
CB|Two Architects
Egan Gardens
Ron Miner Landscape
Elwood’s Tree Service
InHouse Graphics
Salem Blue Printing
Jim Schomaker
Our History

Mission Street Parks Conservancy began in 1979 as the Bush Conservatory Gardeners.  At that time Salem Art Association solicited volunteers to care for the plant collection housed in the newly rehabilitated Bush Conservatory.

As the City began cutting the parks’ budget in the early 1980’s, the gardeners responded by recruiting more volunteers and taking on more maintenance tasks. In the late 1980s, the Gardeners began mulching the rose beds annually, which, at that time, had not been done for 12 years. During this time, they also began to identify and label the Tartar Old Rose Collection.

In 1991, in response to threats to “pave the rose garden” the Bush Conservatory Gardeners expanded their scope and become the Friends of Bush Gardens (FOBG). FOBG’s first project was to study the hybrid tea and floribunda rose collection, and then restore the collection’s organization.  They published the first Rose Garden Brochure at this time.

Other projects followed. In 1996, FOBG was gifted the money to repair the roof of the conservatory. The following year, they raised funds and built the Victorian-style gazebo, which now serves as the focal point for the rose gardens. At about the same time, FOBG established the volunteer Tuesday Morning Gardeners program, whose primary responsibility was to maintain the then newly designed gardens surrounding the conservatory and the two island beds southwest of the barn.

In 2008 FOBG led a three-year capital campaign to completely restore the Bush Conservatory. They continued to be responsible for the interior of the conservatory including the care of the collection of plants popular in Victorian times.

In late 2017, FOBG responded to threats to the park’s landscape and its iconic Oregon White Oaks by organizing the Mission Street Parks Conservancy to raise the level of care in our parks. The Conservancy works in partnership with City of Salem Parks.