The Leach Botanical Garden, located in East Portland off SE Foster and 122nd Avenue, holds the potential for positive economic development impact, particularly for the Foster industrial area and the Lents Town Center, by offering access to green and open spaces that improve employers’ ability to attract and retain talent. Prosper Portland’s investment in Leach reflects the agency’s commitment to provide high quality amenities to East Portland and expand opportunities for engagement with the diverse local community.
Prosper Portland has already contributed nearly $2 million from the Lents Urban Renewal Area fund to implement the garden’s development plan, a transformative project which calls for a pedestrian trail network, including connections between the Upper and Lower gardens, a woodland hillside garden with an aerial “tree walk,” a pollinator garden, public gathering spaces for educational and cultural opportunities, water-efficient landscaping, and durable, diverse, and aesthetically pleasing plants and materials.
In December 2016, the strong interest, robust fundraising efforts and significant pledges cultivated by the Leach Botanical Garden Friends spurred City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R) Director Mike Abbaté to offer a challenge to the Friends: if they are able to raise a total of $1.26 million for this project, then PP&R will supplement the remaining funds to see the project through: $4.9 million. At the same time, Metro announced a $188,000 Nature in Neighborhoods grant to Leach to develop the new pollinator garden.