When Umpqua opens new bank locations, they invite the community to submit ideas to improve the neighborhood. The bank then chooses their top three ideas and then invites the neighbors to vote for their favorite. Starting March 21st, kids and adults may go into Umpqua, 3557 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, and vote for our rainwater harvesting project. Voting closes April 15th, and the winner will be announced April 18th.

Sunnyside Environmental School has had a fabulous Gardening and Sustainability program for several years, but we lack a sustainable way to water our gardens. There is an obvious solution: capture our abundant rainwater during the fall and winter and use it to irrigate our gardens. Portland gets almost 40” of rain a year and much of that ends up polluted and in our sewers. Our school will create a demonstration project with educational components to water our vegetable garden area and teach our neighbors how to do the same.

The 2500 gallon cistern will be located in our garden at 34th and Taylor. Rain barrels and other rainwater projects will be developed and installed by the community. Educational signage will be developed and placed near the cistern. To celebrate the unveiling of the completed project, we will host a neighborhood gathering and invite people to build rain barrels for their own homes. Money from the challenge will offset the cost of these rain barrels so that more neighbors can afford to install them. Together, we will learn about the importance of storm water reduction and rainwater harvesting!

If you would like to be involved in installing this project or planning community outreach and education, please contact heidimcnamee@gmail.com. If we work together, we can create a really fun neighborhood event that will help us use our rain, a very precious resource.

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops

Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain.

—–Langston Hughes