OCEAN PARK — Gary Lukens had a problem — but a good one. So many people were interested in his Community Garden that he had to find a bigger location than the one he first announced.
The Port of Peninsula came through with a property consisting of four adjoining undeveloped lots near the post office on 256th Place and Ridge Road.
Lukens invited Port of Peninsula Commissioner Bill Derion to join some of his board members, volunteers and residents seeking to participate to their groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.
“It is a great opportunity for the port to be involved — more than just oysters!” Derion said.
The idea is that residents will pay a fee each growing season for the use of a part of the land to grow their selection of vegetables. Don King and his wife, Evelyn Rissman, signed up for two lots and plan a friendly competition.
“I would like to grow tomatoes, squash and maybe artichokes,” said an excited Rissman. She hopes to follow a strategy that combines corn, beans and squash in the same location, “just like the Native Americans did.”
Recent Portland transplant Susan Gordon has joined Lukens’ team. Having taken a horticultural major at Clackamas Community College, she is eager to help.
“Gardening is peaceful and whatever you put in you get out,” she said.
Lukens and others are seeking to involve the nearby Ocean Park Elementary School students in the project. “It’s exciting that we can get involved with the school,” Gordon said. “It is important that children learn to grow their own food and know it doesn’t just come from the grocery store.”
A photo opportunity with some shovels Tuesday was a reward for Lukens. “It has taken five years to get this going,” he beamed.