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Free hot dogs and drinks Saturday at Gresham's annual Nadaka Festival celebrating forested park

By Susan Green
The Oregonian

The fourth annual Nadaka Community Festival and Clean-up happening Saturday at Gresham's 12-acre nature park is a chance for families to get to know the forested haven in the heart of the city that dedicated volunteers have been maintaining and improving for the last six years.

Free hot dogs and drinks Saturday at Gresham's annual Nadaka Festival celebrating forested park

Nadaka Nature Park includes a 10-acre urban forest in the heart of Gresham's Wilkes East neighborhood. (The Oregonain)

The fourth annual Nadaka Community Festival and Clean-up happening Saturday at Gresham's 12-acre nature park is a chance for families to get to know the forested haven in the heart of the city that dedicated volunteers have been maintaining and improving for the last six years.

Festival activities will unfold from noon to 3 p.m. in a two-acre meadow area at the southern end of the park along Northeast Glisan Street between 176th and 177th avenues.

Along with free hot dogs and drinks, the festival will include music, an Aztec dance performance, the Audubon Society of Portland's education birds, and children's activities like face painting, a nature scavenger hunt and arts and crafts. Guests can explore the 10 forested acres behind the meadow on the half-mile Nadaka Loop Trail.

Before the festival begins, volunteers will converge on the park at 9 a.m. to remove invasive plants and clean up litter until noon. The ongoing fight against non-native vegetation is essential in order to keep the forest healthy, says Lee Dayfield, an active member of the Friends of Nadaka, the group coordinating improvements at the park.

Volunteers will meet at the north gate at Northeast Pacific Street and 175th Avenue. Families are welcome. Tools will be provided.

Much has happened at the park since last year's festival, when Oregon Parks & Recreation had just awarded a $523,480 grant for a community park area in the meadow. Construction of a nature-based play area, community garden, covered picnic shelter and restroom are all well underway and should be complete and open to the public sometime in November.

In July, the group received a $61,000 Nature in Neighborhoods grant from Metro that will enable the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Audubon Society to provide educational nature programs in the park next summer.

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