The Towards Carfree Cities VIII kicked off Monday in Portland, Oregon with an exciting community event. Hundreds of conference participants helped break and remove asphalt from a 3000 square foot parking lot. Depave.org is the mastermind behind the Fargo Garden Project. They promote the removal of unnecessary concrete and asphalt from urban areas. Depave.org will continue to work with Goldsmith Properties to transform this now asphalt-free site into a community greenspace. Once completed, the site will be used to educate the public about pavement removal and storm water drainage management. Notice an example of Depave's work in this video at founder Arif Khan's house.Music by Reptet and Dreamtime Stilters.
Kasandra Griffin: [00:21] We’re going to take out 3,000 square feet of underutilised ugly asphalt and we’re going to put it in a community gathering space and garden where we’re going to be growing lots of different kinds of fruit trees and barriers and vines.
Angela Goldsmith: [00:33] It was a property that was slated for development. We actually were looking at putting a triplex, a new build on it. And Depave approached me about turning it into a green space and it just kind of seemed a no-brainer to me.
Ted Labbe: [00:52] We’re ripping up the asphalt and it’s clean asphalt, so like it or not, this asphalt will be recycled and reused again on ether pavement surfaces. It’s important to know that what we’re ripping up is an asphalt parking lot that had no infiltration capacity. Prior to this, stuff would just run off into the streets, contribute to our sewer overflow problems we have here in Portland.
Kasandra Griffin: [01:15] The idea is to try and make sure more things don’t get paved that shouldn’t get paved. And try and rip up some of the pavement that’s already there and we’ve started with some small projects and some yards, but we want to go bigger and bigger and bigger. So this is the first bigger that we’re doing.
Chris Carlsson: [01:32] When you think about what our, you know, major tasks are in urban areas is the reclaiming the commons, the biggest common space we have is covered in asphalt. It’s all the streets of every city, which is a really dumb use of the land. And so the depaving agenda, which is only in it’s very naissance stage is just being getting to be taken seriously by at least some subcultures. It was going to become a very big task ahead of us. And when we start talking seriously about urban food forests, we really need to talk about taking up the asphalt and starting to think about it as places to grow food.
Speaker: [02:04] I moved to Portland about a year ago and this is the reason why I moved to Portland, stuff like this.
Ted Labbe: [02:10] We’re ahead of schedule. We have plans to fill about four of these boxes. We’ve already filled one box, and the second one’s filling fast. We’re actually probably going to have to take a break because Flannery, which is the company that’s going to be recycling the asphalt for us, can’t get trucks out that fast for us. So we’re incredible with the energy that we’re throwing at this task and it’s really exciting to see. I can already hear the earth breathing again underneath this asphalt.
Chris Bellew: [02:43] I’ve been breaking up asphalt with big pry bars, got some huge chunks of asphalt into those dumpsters. Then we began scooping up the gravel, nice clean gravel that can be reused elsewhere. And now I’m shuffling wheelbarrows. It’s been a great experience, and I’m kind of exhausted.
Elly Blue: [03:16] The theme of the conference is rethinking mobility, rediscovering proximity. And for me this Steephaven project just neatly encapsulates all of that. We’re saying we don’t need a place to drive to, we don’t need a place to park our cars. We need a place that can be in our neighbourhood and be somewhere that we want to be in and that we want to walk by.
Ted Labbe: [03:39]
A perennial food forest is our vision for this site. Over here
in this corner we’re going to have a small patio so people can come
out and actually enjoy this. And we’re ultimately… our goal
is to turn a community eyesore into a community asset.
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