October 7, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Tugman Tuggers praise City staff, prepare for upcoming ‘arc of beds’ project

5 min read
The Tugman Tuggers are welcoming volunteers as they start a new round of projects.

The Tugman Tuggers are welcoming volunteers as they start a new round of projects.

The Tuggers are asking for your help: The “arc of beds” needs planting.

[00:00:04] John Ostrom: I’m John Ostrom, the co-lead of Friends of Tugman along with Dennis (Hebert, chair of the Southeast Neighbors neighborhood association).

[00:00:09] Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom: And I’m Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom, his wife, but I’m also a member of the Tugman Tuggers, which we’ll tell you about the momentarily. We’ve been here enjoying Tugman Park for a little over, well, almost 20 years, started with our daughter who was three years old. We lived on East 39th and Hilyard, and took her to Tugman all the time, in the old park, and before it got revamped. And then—

[00:00:31] John Ostrom: Summer of 2020, Dennis reached out to the community and asked, is there any interest in reviving or restoring the Friends of Tugman to carry on the beautification of the park and to piggyback on all the great work that’s been done by the City?

[00:00:44] So we’re about a year and a quarter into this and we have a core group of about six people that started with. Now we have eight, so we’re a small but dedicated group and we call ourselves the Tuggers. Last fall and winter, we spent hours and hours, hours tugging ivy and blackberries. So we came up with this nickname, the Tuggers.

[00:01:04] Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom: The Tugman Tuggers.

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[00:01:05] John Ostrom: Yes. So we are the Tugman Tuggers and that’s just a little bit of the background. We do meet every other Wednesday— that’s been working for most of us— for about two hours, that’s our dedicated time. So it’s about four hours of official time per month, but we actually have a lot of other dedicated volunteers with a lot of time on their hands. And we go down there a lot more often.

[00:01:27] What we accomplished in August and September were a few key projects.

[00:01:31] One that’s been bugging us forever and it took a while to get City approval was to take out those yuccas at the main drinking fountain and resculpt some of the shrubbery. So we did, that was a project. I know it sounds small, but that one’s been on our bucket list for a while. We also continue to take care of the bed we planted last February by the basketball court. That’s all native plants. And that took a lot of work to keep going, especially keeping watered and alive over this hot summer. So that’s continuing.

[00:01:59] And then we also took a big effort earlier in the year and continued on at the north end of the park that we felt was not really being looked after for a while. So the circular bed at the north end where the Tugman plaque is, and then the very north corner of the park where 36th meets Hilyard. So that’s really what we’ve been working on in August and September.

[00:02:17] One thing we’d like to accomplish in the next few months, October, November, December I call it ‘the arc of beds’ that span from the basketball court to the restrooms. There’s a nice curved arc of beds that borders the regular park from the natural area that the city has given us approval to plant. To plant appropriately with native plants, plants that don’t take a lot of water, and plants that can tolerate shade, but they have to be low so we don’t abridge any security issues looking into the creek or the picnic shelters. Eugene Police and the City want to make sure that there’s unobstructed views now into the creek area. So we are putting together a planting plan that takes several weeks or months to get through the City. It’s a really onerous process, but it’s a good thing. They have to be the right plants. They have to be sourced from the right certified nurseries that the City deals with. And by the way, the city has no budget for this. We pay for this as neighbors, but that’s cool. We love it. We love it.

[00:03:20] So that’s what we’re doing in the next few months. And of course the rest of the regular maintenance but I really do need to say that the partnership we have with Kelsey Irvine, at the City Parks and Open Space, has been unbelievable. They kind of let us do what we need to do and they trust us and it’s been about a year and a quarter of building a great relationship.

[00:03:41] Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom: Yeah, we got the bark mix in there. And we have come there and found that they have re-mulched a bunch of those trees and the big lawn area and just stuff that we thought we would be taking care of, they have actually stepped up and helped us.

[00:03:53] John Ostrom: They carried on from stuff we started and finished projects …. So anyway, you can tell we’re pretty excited about it. We’re happy about it. We’re a small group. We’re always looking for more recruitment. We’re a dedicated group. I hope the neighbors in our organization can tell a difference. I think they do.

[00:04:09] John Q: Several members of the board thanked the Tugman Tuggers. Devon Mann.

[00:04:13] Devon Mann: It’s great to hear the relationship with the city and the Parks and Open Space. That’s really, really encouraging. When somebody shows that they want to take care of something, sometimes that spurs other people to want to take care of it. So that’s really cool.

[00:04:30] I grew up going with my dad to collect mushrooms on the landfill that used to be Tugman Park. So that probably explains a lot of my maybe lower SAT scores or things like that, eating mushrooms off of the landfill (laughter). But there was nothing there, you know, when I was a kid, so it’s unrecognizable to me when I go there and it looks great.

[00:04:56] Emily Fox: I just like to thank you for the work that you’re doing. And I go to the park every so often, and it’s really nice to see it coming along. I can really see the difference. Thank you so much for doing what you’re doing.

[00:05:07] Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom: Oh, well, thanks.

[00:05:07] John Ostrom: Thanks. Thanks for noticing. And the numbers of park goers and neighbors who come out and use the park. Now it’s just, if this thing is feeding on itself, it’s really fun.

[00:05:18] Gwynn Sawyer Ostrom: We see regulars when we’re out there weeding or, you know, digging stuff, that people will walk by and they’re like, Hey, good to see you again. It’s really great to make that connection and that community. So thanks. Thanks for letting us speak.

[00:05:31] John Q: To connect with the Tugman Tuggers, see https://SoutheastNeighbors.org.

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