—by Travis Hefner, East Coast Platoon
Without question the best thing I get from liking soccer is the sense of community. In Montreal on Saturday, that sense was both reinforced and undermined in ways I have never seen before. I have never gone from such a high of enjoying what it means to be a supporter to such a low in the amount of time that I did last night.
This, of course, has nothing to do with the actual game played between eleven (well, for a little while, anyway) Portland Timbers and eleven Montreal Impact players. This has to do with what came after. Anyone who has ever been on an away trip knows that we are penned in at the end of the match by security. This presumably allows for the vast majority of the home team's fans to leave and for us to then leave without issue. Montreal was no different. What was different was the number of Impact fans who kept walking up to our section, shaking our hands, and giving us degrees of respect for our strong support. You know, things that a genial winner does after their team just blew your team's doors off. It went further, however. From a section over and down, the remaining members of the 1642 Montreal supporters group waved and called for us to come join them. We tried, but at first security would not allow it. A few more Montreal supporters came up to us and we begged and pleaded together with security to let us go join the other section. Security eventually allowed it and we flooded down to the supporters' section.
I've never experienced anything like what happened next. This small band of Timbers Army chanting back and forth with 1642 Montreal, laughing and joking in between songs, before finally culminating in telling our respective rivals to fuck off (because of course), with our new friends joining in.
Security let us have our fun, but it was time to get a move on. We mumbled some "Merci" to Montreal as they wished us safe travels home, and for a moment, the game was forgotten. It was, as an Impact fan said, "Le foot sans frontières," soccer without borders. The game, at that point, didn't matter. What did matter was two passionate fan bases sharing the joy and love they get from this sport.
Unfortunately, Charles Dickens wrote the goddamn script of this away day. Security, while superb in their handling of things inside the stadium, couldn't have been worse outside of it. Impact fans once again approached us as we walked toward the Metro to leave the stadium region. Ignoring attempts at de-escalation with handshakes and unresponsive to "Hey man, good game" (might have been a good tip-off, eh?) these Impact fans were allowed by security to get close enough to sucker-punch a Timbers supporter and steal a flag before running away shouting "Welcome to Montreal," like a 20-year-old Will Smith movie.
Montreal security's response? Big ol' shrug emoji. Our response? Mostly confusion.
Split lips heal, stolen flags get replaced, but that doesn't change the fact that this type of behavior undermines the vast majority of good support in MLS.
Over the past year or two there have been incidents with New York teams, Orlando, San Jose, and Montreal. It is a trend that must be snuffed out by supporters groups and front offices alike.
However, I choose to focus on the good. One of the most famous words in the French language is "fraternité," and that is what I will take from Montreal with me. The actions of a handful do not outweigh the many Montreal fans that sang and danced with us in the post game. That's what should be remembered every time, not the Montreal fans sucker-punching and stealing, but the camaraderie we all have supporting this stupid sport that we all take too seriously. We outnumber those who think violence is a way to support a team, and we will continue to do so.
—by Aaron Flynn; photos courtesy of East Coast Platoon
In the second part of my series on RSG histories, I reached out to Scott Brown of the East Coast Platoon to tell us about their group's origin.
In 2011, the ECP was first started by Brian Fiore-Silfvast on Facebook as a means to help supporters come together in a single place to build community around shared love of the Timbers and to help with coordination for trips to away stadiums.
The group now heads up all of the Eastern Conference away days, with the exception of Chicago and Columbus. When there’s a game in DC and NY, they have heavy involvement from the local groups, DC Federal Reserves and Gotham Company, but those groups still consider themselves to be under the umbrella of ECP.
ECP has produced some fantastic tifo over the years, from the “Always Sunshine in Chester” display in Philadelphia to the Fallout-themed tifo that New England didn’t allow them to take into the stadium. All of the tifo work is ad-hoc. Asked about away day capos, Scott said they are “really volunteer basis, but generally it falls on the shoulders of a few people” who love the team.
Scott reviews chant lyrics with another away day capo.
On the East Coast, the group tries to get together for watch parties, but it’s been tough. “People outside of Portland have no idea how uncommon it is for bars to have any sort of vibrant MLS viewing culture of a hometown team, not to mention that of a team from outside the area,” Scott lamented.
One of Scott’s favorite memories is of the rain delay chant-off with the Sons of Ben in Chester (Philadelphia) in 2013. At halftime, they announced a rain delay and the group was forced into the concourse that was shared with the Philly supporters. As the ECP was marched down, they began to sing “Let it rain, let it pour, let the Portland Timbers score,” and the Philly fans responded with “PHILADELPHIA!” Thus, the chant-off began. For about 20 minutes, the groups shouted chants back and forth. The result was a 0-0 draw, but the chant-off was a memory that no one in attendance would forget.
I asked Scott about the ECP’s traditions and what makes them special. He told me: “In addition to being the best-looking regional group (which isn’t really that unknown), we’re also the smartest.” He mentioned that the group likes to make swag that incorporates salty sayings from ex-members, such as “Some of you are alright.”
If you’re visiting an East Coast away day, Scott just encourages you to show up early, bring beer, and sing loud.
—by Aaron Flynn
As more regional supporters groups (RSGs) pop up, I’ve created a map to try and keep track of every group. The task is an ever-evolving one, and it’s something that can be time-consuming. As I created this map and talked to different people from across the country, I realized that each group has a different personality. I came up with this idea to record different histories of all of the RSGs possible and give everyone a chance to get to know them from afar.
Seeing as FC Dallas is our next away day, I decided to reach out to a group that’s close to my heart. I spoke with Jeremy Ballew about the Lone Star Brigade, based in Texas.
Jeremy told me that the Lone star Brigade (LSB) was founded in 2012 when a couple of guys in San Antonio, one of whom went to college with Jeremy, had a mutual interest in the Timbers. He had a friend living in Oklahoma at that time who also was following the Timbers. The group came to this realization through seeing Facebook posts boasting about the Timbers in MLS. So, the 4 of them began chatting about starting up something small where any random Timbers fans in Texas could have a place to discuss games. The group originally started with the name Texas Timbers. “We had no idea that it would turn into what it is today. Today, we now have 633 members on our Facebook page, and 2 of the 4 that helped get this started now live in Portland,” he said.
The LSB mainly focuses on away days in Houston and Dallas. I asked Jeremy about his favorite memories of a Texas away day. He managed to narrow it down to three:
Since you don’t ever forget your first, Jeremy recollects that his very first live Timbers match was down in Houston back in May of 2012, a 0-0 draw. There were about 15 people who met at Lucky’s Pub before the game, and that was his first chance to meet several folks from Portland. Not only that, it was also his first Timbers Army experience.
His second favorite was the US Open Cup in Dallas. It was June of 2013 and we managed to beat Dallas 3-2. “To this day," Jeremy points out, that Open Cup match is "the only Timbers match I have been to which we actually won.” For any Texan, beating Dallas in Dallas is just too sweet.
Lastly, I think for the majority of Lone Star Brigade, their favorite game was the MLS Western Conference Final. Without question this was the most memorable away day in Texas. It was rainy and cold, just as it would have been had the game been in Portland. There was a very strong contingent of PTFC faithful. Merritt Paulson even joined us at the tailgate. We had an FC Dallas scarf that someone had been gifted after a Dallas fan drunkenly stole one of our banners and managed to mail it back the next week after profusely apologizing. We threw the scarf on the wet concrete and would casually spill beer on it and walk on it throughout the day. MP joined in on the fun and stomped on it and did a little dance. Jeremy reminisces about victory beers in the parking lot afterwards. That moment would not be paralleled or beaten in Texas. The only better feeling was actually winning the MLS Cup.
Jeremy told me about the game day ops and how the group organizes watch parties. He mentioned that most venues won’t let you bring in large tifo for games, and some are strict about throwing streamers. In Dallas, you have to tear up your streamers and make confetti, because they fear it would hit a Dallas fan's head. In Houston, they’re more lax and allow you to throw streamers. Dallas lets you hang banners from the front of the section, while Houston will only let you hang them behind your section. The LSB has some great artists who create banners on their own time, and they use the LSB Facebook page for recommendations. On that page, we also verbalize the need for capos and ask for help in that area. Jeremy and several others have headed that up over the past few years.
As far as watch parties are concerned, supporters in the major cities in Texas (DFW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, etc.) are quite vocal on the page, sharing where watch parties are happening in each city.
The Lone Star Brigade is pretty special. To them, it's not just 3-4 admins making every decision for the group. The LSB are a family. They like to incorporate as many active members as possible to make decisions, and they value everyone’s opinion. Jeremy’s favorite tradition is the signing of “the Family Tree,” which is a large rising sun banner with the state of Texas rising from the bottom of the banner. Any Timbers supporter who joins the Lone Star Brigade for an away day is encouraged to sign it. Jeremy says: “To this day, I still think that the way we came about, came together, by 4 dudes simply reading a couple of Facebook posts and saying, 'We should start a little support group here in Texas', still blows my mind.”
LSB loves to tailgate for matches when possible. You can find them always tailgating for the match in Dallas. You can find the Family Tree to sign it there. In Dallas, once the match has concluded, the group navigates to the team bus and waits for the players to exit so they can show their appreciation, win, lose, or draw. Jeremy encourages anyone who has an extra 30 minutes after the match to join them in thanking the players and coaches for all that they do.
I asked Jeremy for his best advice for a Timbers fan who is traveling to be at a game with the LSB. He wants to encourage everyone to buy streamers or confetti. If you don’t have a flag, don’t worry. We have one member who is basically the caretaker of all the flags, and they’re brought to every Texas match. There’s always one available for you to wave! Just as in Portland, the LSB chants the entire match. Jeremy wants everyone to be standing until halftime. Lastly, he encourages everyone to be respectful to the stadium officials and front office folks. Timbers Army carries a title of respect, so there are certain areas in which we are granted a bit more freedom since we usually carry a large number of supporters and we are respectful to the venue’s rules. Don’t violate this. It’s a liberty that not many SGs can enjoy, so try not to abuse it.
On May 12th, 2017, the TA and 107IST will unveil a new No Pity Originals clothing collaboration with Portland’s very own Bridge & Burn. For years NPO has wanted to create casual gear fit for match days and the workplace; together with our neighbors we created a collection that's truly suited for rain or shine. The partnership was a natural fit between two distinct Portland brands, both with close ties to the downtown Goose Hollow neighborhood.
The Bridge & Burn - Timbers Army Collection will be available for purchase on May 12th at p:ear (338 NW 6th Ave) from 6:30-10:00pm.
Join us for our release party! The event is free and open to the public. All proceeds support the 107 Independent Supporters Trust. First come, first serve. All styles will be for sale, but these are limited edition, so quantities are limited. Doors open at 6:30pm.
The 107 Independent Supporters Trust is now the 46th Portland-based community organization to join the recently formed group, Portland United Against Hate. This decision was supported unanimously by both the Outreach Committee and the 107IST Board of Directors after lengthy discussions at both levels. We feel that this group aligns with our ethos as an organization, helps spread the word about who we are and what we do, and allows us to align with some of the groups that are working directly with populations that we have continually targeted in pursuit of our mission.
Community and City Response to Hate
Portland United Against Hate is a community initiated partnership of Community Based Organizations, Neighborhood Associations, concerned communities and the City. Together, we are building a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and providing the support and protection our communities need in this uncertain era. We seek to combine our resources, assets and relationships to create an inclusive city that protects, embraces, and celebrates its diverse communities.
We hear the outcry of our communities. In recent months, many community organizations report increasing incidents of hate crimes and intimidation, including bullying and violence stemming from racism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, islamophobia, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, stigma, and misogyny. This affects every area of our lives, including our workplaces, schools, places of worship, healthcare facilities, the marketplace, and more. We reject this hateful behavior.
We are tackling this toxic environment head on. Our partnership is bound by these common values: we oppose a registry of people based on their faith, culture, ethnicity, and documentation status. We know Black Lives Matter. We will continue advocating reform of our police department and building trust between police and communities of color so everybody feels safe in our neighborhoods. We support Portland’s evolution as an Inclusive City, regardless of the threats made by the Trump administration.
We have come together. This community initiated partnership is combining forces with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI), whose charge is to connect and support all Portlanders to work collaboratively with government to build inclusive, safe, and livable neighborhoods and communities. Community organizations look to ONI to collaborate in creating a robust response to the negative forces that undermine our city and community.
Our bold and intentional collaborative efforts are designed to protect communities from hate and proactively, create a strong base of support, provide the tools and resources to combat oppression, prosper economically and thrive collectively. Everyone and every community deserves a safe, prosperous, and peaceful life, a life free from hate and harassment. We recognize and honor our collective resilience and our right to nurture our communities from a place of compassion, security, and belonging.
“With divisiveness and hatred becoming the norm at the national level, and here on the Best Coast, we must find ways to support our neighbors. I sincerely appreciate this statement of community values, being generated by the people, for the people. We believe in dignity and respect for all. That is the Portland way.” Commissioner Amanda Fritz
We invite you to join us. Need help? Please reach out to the organizations below. Someone there will listen to what happened, and help you find a solution. Want to be involved? YOU can volunteer, lend your financial support, get trained on how to combat hate, and come together for community events. YOU can speak up when you hear or see hateful, harassing or intimidating acts. YOU can be part of creating a truly welcoming community. Together, we can all unite against hate.
Portland United Against Hate Member Organizations
APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon)
Coalition of Communities of Color
East Portland Action Plan
East Portland Neighborhood Office
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
Iraqi Society of Oregon
IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization)
IRCO Africa House
IRCO Asian Family Center
Jewish Voices of Peace
Kerns Neighborhood Association
Lents Neighborhood Association
Linnton Neighborhood Association
Love Action Coalition
Maplewood Neighborhood Association
Metropolitan Public Defender
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
Muslim Community Center of Portland
Muslim Educational Trust
Native American Youth & Family Center
No Hate Zone
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
North Portland Neighborhood Services
Office of Neighborhood Involvement City of Portland (ONI)
Oregon Board of Rabbis
Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes
Oregon Coalition for Muslim Values
Oregon Muslim Citizens Alliance
Portland African American Leadership Forum
Portland Japanese American Citizens League
Portland Two-Spirit Society
Sabin Community Association
Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
SW Neighborhoods, Inc.
Urban League of Portland
YWCA of Greater Portland
107 Independent Supporters Trust (107IST)
Here is where the invitation to join PUAH in marching at the 82nd Ave Parade of Roses this weekend was going to go. However, the event was canceled due to threats of violence.
This is the world we live in. We Are the Shining City on the Hill. We’ll keep you posted on how you can be involved in our joint efforts. Let’s do this, Portland.
Make a positive impact in the lives of kids and families on the west side of Portland, and represent the Timbers, Timbers Army, Portland Thorns, and Rose City Riveters at the same time!
Your 107 Independent Supporters' Trust, along with Embrace Oregon and other west side friends, are coming together to do TWO major family visitation room remodels at the Beaverton DHS offices (foster care system) this June.
The photo above shows the room we completed last summer at Hillsboro DHS, which was done entirely in a Timbers/Timbers Army theme with signed memorabilia donated from the Timbers, custom log slice end tables, a mural designed and painted by TA artists, brand new furniture, and a new flat screen TV and game system.
Not only do we plan on doing a similar Timbers-themed room at Beaverton DHS, but we also are excited to announce a separate family visitation room that will have a Portland Thorns theme! Talented artists from within the Rose City Riveters will design the room, including a Thorns and Riveters-themed mural.
Both rooms are visitation rooms so that children and teens who are in foster care can spend their average of one hour each week with a birth parent. This is an intimate and critical point of connection for children whose lives are turned upside down, and for biological parents who are working hard and taking steps to get their kids back. A room that is homey and warm speaks value and worth to both the children and their families.
The rooms will also be used when children are removed from their home and are sitting in the child welfare office awaiting placement. Volunteers—Office Moms and Dads—will play with kids for an average of 5-7 hours while the caseworker tries to find a foster placement. Having an inviting space with activities is very helpful in this instance as well.
These rooms will be a reminder to kids, teens, parents, guardians, and DHS staff that they are valued, and will also leave a lasting legacy of love from the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters.
The total budget for both rooms is $10,000, but with the generous in-kind support of local businesses and the 107IST directly, along with money raised from last December’s "You Are Loved" scarf sale, we are already over halfway there! The money raised will all go to the direct expenses of furniture not donated, new flat screen TVs and game systems, paint and paint supplies, shelving and wall mounts, etc.
The makeover itself will take place over the first two weeks of June, so the sooner we can complete the fundraising, the better.
Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page where you can make a donation:
If you have questions or would like to find out about volunteering, please feel free to contact me at the info below.
THANK YOU for considering taking part in this meaningful and lasting gift to children and families on the west side of Portland.
The mission of the 107 Independent Supporters Trust is to support soccer in and around Portland, from the grassroots to the highest professional level. And with your help, along with two very special donations from El Maestro, we’re looking forward to helping to sponsor Street Soccer USA’s Portland team as they train for the Street Soccer USA National Cup in Philadelphia in June.
Who is Street Soccer USA?
Street Soccer USA is an organization whose mission is to fight poverty and empower underserved communities through soccer (you can read more about them here). In Portland this year, Street Soccer USA is working with Outside In, a local organization serving homeless youth and other marginalized members of society. Both Timbers Army and Riveters have worked with Outside In in the past, with match day donation drives and Pride scarf proceeds. We support Outside In’s work and are proud of their efforts to compete in the Street Soccer USA National Cup in Philadelphia. We are raising funds to help sponsor the team’s trip. From Street Soccer USA’s Adam Lewis:
Our team here in Portland is working hard and setting personal goals, all with the dream of participating in this year's Cup. With your support, eight dedicated players (from Portland's homeless, refugee and at-risk communities) will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Philadelphia, play against teams from all over the USA and, most importantly, see that they are not alone.
Robert, one of our most dedicated players, has participated in the National Tournament, was selected as part of team USA and had the opportunity to represent his country in the Homeless World Cup. At last year's Cup, Robert saw that individuals from all over the county shared the challenges he was also overcoming. Here, Robert was a part of something bigger than himself. He not only had his Portland teammates to lean on, but an entire national community that shared his struggles and triumphs. For those that often feel isolated, dehumanized and looked over, the experience of playing with their peers from around the country is a life changing experience.
Now Robert has quit smoking, works full-time at a restaurant and supports himself and his girlfriend. Stories like Robert's always remind me of the importance of participating in the National Cup.
This year we are looking to take eight new players to the tournament. The players will be traveling with a head coach (myself) and social service mentor to help provide the best care and experience possible. Once at the tournament, participants will play multiple matches on the Art Museum steps and enjoy networking events to meet other Street Soccer athletes.
How Can You Help?
This month, thanks to Diego Valeri’s gracious and generous support, there are TWO ways you can help! We have TWO May 3rd raffles for TWO Diego Valeri signed log slices. Here’s how you can enter the log slice raffles and help local Street Soccer USA youth at the same time:
We’re proud to support soccer from the grassroots to the highest professional level; and we’re thrilled to see the opportunity for Team/Town/TA to come together to support local youth to compete at a national level.
For the second year running the 107ist/Timbers Army CPR is teaming up with American Medical Response (AMR) to assemble a team to walk in the 2017 American Heart Association (AHA) Heart & Stroke Walk at Portland International Raceway on 5/20/2017. Timbers Army CPR teaches the AHA “Heartsaver" CPR/AED class for free monthly at Providence Park with the support of AMR, the 107ist and Portland Timbers FC.
The Heart Walk helps raise money toward research for heart attack and stroke prevention. We’re recruiting people to donate toward our fundraising goal of $3000 and/or join our team to get your friends to sponsor you and walk on 5/20. Both AMR and the AHA have been integral in helping Timbers Army CPR train 581 citizen rescuers since 2013.
All walkers and those who donate $25 or more will receive a Timbers Army CPR/AMR Heart Walk T-shirt (Pictured above) and the exclusive TACPR Merit Badge (below). You can only get this badge from donating to and/or participating in the walk.
Challenge your family, your friends at work, your friends in your Timbers Army seat section or the section closest to you.
Last year, we had a combined 43 donors and walkers (32 people walked) who participated as a part of our Timbers Army CPR/AMR Portland 2016 American Heart Association Heart Walk team. We raised over $4000 for heart attack, stroke, prevention and awareness. The Timbers Army team really represented last year! Our team was the 8th highest fundraiser out of 100 teams!!
Of the 32 people who walked, there was our friend John Acerbi who just 65 days earlier survived a cerebral stroke. He and his wife walked together.
Several people already signed up to walk with us are dedicating their walk to a loved one whose life has been effected by heart disease or stroke
We are going all out this year!! We’ll have flags and drums. We’ll liven this walk up!!
It only takes three easy steps!
1. Visit our team page – http://www2.heart.org/goto/TimbersArmyAMRPDX
2. Click the "Join Team" button and follow the prompts to register.
3. Get your friends, co-workers and neighbors to sponsor you with a donation of $5 or whatever they are comfortable with.
Once you've joined the team, we'll need your help to reach our team fundraising goal. Don't worry — fundraising is easy. The American Heart Association provides all the tools, including your personal fundraising page. Plus, I'll be here to support and encourage you along the way. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any Heart Walk questions.
Why Heart & Stroke Walk? One in three Americans has some form of cardiovascular disease and stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. We can change this by walking and raising funds for Heart Walk. The walk is a non- timed 5k. We expect about 8,000 participants to attend this amazing event.
Help grow our team; please forward this email to anyone you think will want to walk, raise funds and make a difference in our community. The more the merrier, when it comes to our Heart Walk team! Thank you in advance for your participation.
Let’s show them what an army can do! Join our team today! RCTID!
On the heels of successful donation drives for household supplies, clothes, and preseason tickets, the Timbers Army is in the midst of yet another effort for IRCO, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. Myself, Kyle “Caterjunes” Jones, and Michelle “Bella” DeFord had each been volunteering on an individual basis with IRCO prior to getting the TA involved, with Kyle and I helping kids with homework on Saturday mornings and Michelle coordinating several donation drives. Joining forces, we asked IRCO what else the TA could do for them. The staff told us that the kids have a soccer team but nowhere to play when it’s cold and wet outside, to which we thought, what better use of our charitable funds than to get kids playing soccer?
Thanks to the dogged efforts of Kyle, we finally secured a court at Rose City Futsal for 90 minutes every Saturday in March and April. As word of our latest endeavor got around, we were approached by an anonymous donor who wished to purchase new shoes for every kid. Michelle got a list of shoe sizes and the next thing we knew, eight bags full of shoeboxes arrived at the Fanladen.
As fate would have it, their first session was on March 4th, the day after the home opener, and next to the court where TAFC was playing a friendly against Minnesota United’s Dark Clouds and True North Elite supporters groups. After putting on their new shoes, the IRCO kids ran through training drills and played intrasquad games for their allotted time with their coach, Jared Hoffman from AC Portland who has graciously donated his time every weekend.
Photos by Scott Jeffries
Then came one of the most moving displays I’ve ever seen as a Timbers fan. TAFC and Dark Clouds, realizing they had their court for half an hour longer than IRCO, spontaneously stopped their game and invited the kids over to come play with them. As the kids entered, the adults applauded them onto the court, they intermingled teams, Portland and Minnesota, kids and adults, immigrants and citizens, for one big friendly match. With too many players to go around, another match spilled out onto the empty court next door. Many more simply watched, not a dry eye among them.
Photo by Ray Terrill
The kids have come back twice since then and news has certainly traveled, with a larger turnout and several new faces each week. This past weekend saw 24 players and they are quickly outgrowing their small space, but as the weather slowly improves, they will head outdoors. The team is training to compete in the annual Portland World Cup Tournament, organized by Portland Parks and Recreation every summer, scheduled this year for July 21st and 22nd, sadly the weekend of Vancouver away, for which this writer has already booked travel plans, but those who are staying behind should mark their calendars to show up in support.
You can also show your support by purchasing a "Refugees Welcome" scarf here. All proceeds go to IRCO.
It’s been a great few months helping these kids and their families, but we’re not about to stop here. We have two more initiatives in the works right now: finding a coach for a new girls’ team (which we may well have as I write this!) and helping some of the kids pay club soccer dues. As we watch an 18-year-old high school senior from Gresham playing on the first team and I see how talented some of these IRCO kids are, I can’t help but imagine one of them taking the field someday as our next homegrown player and remembering how it all started.
Photo by Ray Terrill
Like many of the things we do, our relationship with Friends of Trees grew from the interest of members who aligned closely with multiple groups and wanted to utilize our sweat equity to do some good in the community. Almost ten years ago, this relationship was established as one of us was a neighborhood coordinator for Friends of Trees and tapped the TA to help with a planting he was organizing. Over these years, we have increased the number of experienced tree planters within our ranks and have been a reliable source of volunteers for them when they need it most. In fact, many of our volunteers have more experience than some of the crew leaders often do. This allows the crews we’re on to be highly effective as a they can be broken down to more effectively cover their assigned planting area. Sure, planting trees for goals with the Timbers is fun and all, but, while volunteer need is a factor, these events are typically scheduled to align with whether the players are still in town. The strength of our relationship is our ability to answer the call when they are in need of our ability to bring it strong. Typically, this happens when they’re going into large groups of lower-income neighborhoods where volunteerism may be lower than others. These are some of the same areas where we have sought to connect our community services (OPI, GCSF, etc.) with those that need it most. One of our continued issues is getting people to know who we are and what we do. These types of events allow us to put visible boots on the ground and grow our influence.
As Friends of Trees has grown in the community, they’ve been able to develop a deep enough pool of volunteers to keep us as their ace in the hole. This weekend is one of those times where they could really use our help as they go into the neighborhoods of Arbor Lodge, Kenton, Overlook, and Portsmouth to plan 210 street trees. If you’ve seen the member distribution maps at the 107IST Annual General Meetings, you’ll know that this area is second only to that just to the west including St. Johns. Our plantings there over the last couple years have continually broken records for the number of members to actually walk to a 107IST event. This one may be the only area that can compete on this measure. As it stands, they have a handful of residents and some small groups coming out. So, come on out and give us a hand, get some dirt on ya, and make our presence known while doing some good for the community.
For more details and to sign up, go here.
Lastly, our greatest strength is the involvement of our members. If you find ways within your local community that you’re passionate about and think that the 107IST may be able to help, shoot us a message at email@example.com and we’d be happy to see what we can do to help. It may even be the next thing we take to the next level.
Let’s do this, Portland.