MSPC was formed, in part, to respond to threats to the Oregon White Oaks in Bush’s Pasture Park. Among MSPC’s first actions was to commission a professional scientific study of the oaks and, based on that study, recommend significant changes in how the City manages them. Since the study, the City has changed how it manages these valuable trees, consistent with MSPC’s recommendations.
MSPC also turned a narrow gully created by runoff into a popular landscape feature. “The Ravine” sits to the south of the playground near the Bush Street parking lot. Designed and built mainly by Ron Miner, the project slightly widened the existing gully and added several tons of Willamette Valley basalt boulders on the banks. The seasonal stream now ends in a small bioswale designed to reduce the amount of water that pools at the bottom of the slope. Volunteers planted the banks with many interesting plants. Children seem particularly drawn to the seasonal stream, the bioswale, and a nearby bald cypress.
In addition to these highly visible projects MSPC and the hard-working volunteers:
- Planted over 300 trees, shrubs, and perennials, many with an eye toward enhancing the Lord & Schryver elements of the gardens;
- Documented the contents of 50 garden beds and made the information available online;
- Labeled 50 garden beds with posted signs;
- Rejuvenated the flowering tree collection by recommending removal of dying trees and planting young trees;
- Propagated some of the park’s more unique flowering trees to rehabilitate tree collection;
- Contributed thousands of hours of volunteer gardening services, with a special focus on the landscape beds in the NW corner of the park and the tree circles in the upper oak grove;
- Supported the City and provided historical information for development of a Cultural Landscape Management Plan for Bush’s Pasture Park and Deepwood;
- Partnered with the City to rehabilitate the hybrid tea and floribunda rose beds in the Municipal Rose Garden, including purchasing 600 new roses and raising many rose beds to improve drainage;
- Designed and planted a new “hot bed” with flowers designed to provide late summer blooms for pollinators and stunning color for human Park-goers;
- Commissioned, with support from the Charles May family, a concept drawing for a small outdoor classroomnear the conservatory in honor of Margie May, one of the original Bush Conservatory Gardeners;
- Started developing plans to clean up and beautify a second unused area near the conservancy and supplied the City with an initial concept drawing; and
- Initiated work to restore the brick focal point in the Mae Tarter Old Rose Collection near High Street.
As we look to the future of MSPC and the Mission Street Parks, we see many opportunities to preserve, maintain, interpret, and enhance the parks. We want Bush and the other parks on Mission Street to remain deep in the hearts of Salem residents and visitors alike for generations