The entire campus will be restored and landscaped in a manner that demonstrates the principles of ecology and permaculture design. The grounds will be transformed into a neighborhood park, a living native plant library, and an educational arboretum.
Lane County Commons Aerial Schematic
A Plant Nursery and Seed Bank will be locatied in the northwest corner of the fairgrounds. The nursery will produce perennial flowers, herbs, shrubs, vines, and trees, both native and exotic, which are edible or useful economically and ecologically. This will be a specialty nursery that can fill a niche that is largely vacant in Lane County. Its purpose will be to make plants available that are useful rather than simply attractive. This nursery will provide plants both for the grounds and for sale to the public. The seed bank will be a functioning part of the overall landscaping plan and a regional asset, used for both long-term seed storage and sales. It will contain vegetable and grain varieties suited to our climate, with an accent on perennials and drought tolerance. Since most garden seeds remain viable for only one to five years, the seed bank's long-term storage needs will require vacuum packing and freezing systems. From a dollars and cents point of view, a seed bank is a real bank. Our Lane County farmers and gardeners will be the beneficiaries of inexpensive high quality seeds and will have a repository to rely on if an unseen calamity should strike.
The Compost Site will be central feature of the Lane County Commons. All wet, green, or other compostable wastes created at the Lane County Commons will be collected at this site for the creation of nutritent rich soil or diversion to methane digestion or bio-fuel generation. The compost site will also include vermiculture applications and be configured to enable demonstrations and workshops.
A Coppice System Forest will be used to fuel an on-site pyrolosis kiln. The intention will be to size the forest to fit the size and use of the kiln; the intention being that if properly sized, there can always be renewable fuel available for the kiln. The kiln will then be used as a demonstration heat and bio-char source.
An Economic Arboretum-Park will be created as a series of green islands in what is now the Lane County Fairgrounds' central parking lot. This central expanse of asphalt is a huge heat sink and creates a major problem for visitors during the summer months. Breaking up this mass of asphalt with small green displays and arbors will lend to both the beauty and the comfort of the location. The primary purpose of this arboretum park, however, will be the demonstration of new economic opportunities available from plants that can be grown in this region. Our garden climate is friendly to many little known plants of economic significance. Several of these can be grown on marginal non-agricultural lands. Plants for rubber, cork, insulation, fiber, oil, medicine, adhesives, and dyes all have potential as locally grown resources for small industries; thus the wider purpose of the arboretum-park is to provide education for eco-entrepreneurs to launch new green enterprises.
A Permaculture Display will landscape the grounds around the Wheeler Pavilion. The design will demonstrate basic permature relationships and act as an educational workshop area.
The Restoration of the Amazon Creek will be a central part of the repaired fairgrounds landscaping scheme. A half-mile, east-west stretch of the Amazon Creek bisects the site. Currently this waterway is more a slough for city run-off than a creek. The Metro Waterways Project in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers is already planning to restore the entire length of the Amazon Creek. It is the intention of the Fairgrounds Repair Project to partner with the Metro Waterways Project and provide a detailed planting schedule for the portion of the Amazon Creek that is on fairgrounds. The completed landscaping will create an attractive and economically demonstrative riparian corridor and wetlands.
A Forest Woodland will be situated in the southeast corner of the Lane County Commons on both sides of the Amazon Creek. On the south bank, an oak savannah will be created with a meadow that will transition into a mixed forest system that links into the riparian restoration. The purpose of this project is fundamentally educational. Most of our second growth forests are in sad shape and tree mortality has more than doubled in the last two decades. Pests and disease vectors are becoming epidemic and catastrophic forest fires are increasingly common. There are, however, ways to restore health, old growth characteristics, complexity, diversity, carbon sequestration, and ecological service to our second growth forests. It is these techniques and strategies the forest woodland will address. This forest woodland demonstration will also honor the history of the original inhabitants of this portion of Oregon, mimicking their eco-management of the forest and accenting the non-lumber products that are not currently utilized as part of the forest economy.
A Community Garden will be set back from the riparian zone on the south side of the Amazon Creek between the eco-orchard and the forest woodland. This community garden will be both a public gardening space and a location for gardening classes and workshops. A children's garden, youth garden, and ADA accessible garden will be developed in the northwestern region of the campus as well. Fees for plots in the community garden can offset overhead.
An Agro-ecology Micro Farm will be located on south side of the Amazon Creek in the southwestern corner of the fairgrounds campus. This micro farm will mimic a woodland garden with an overstory of tree crops and an understory of shrubs, flowers, and herbs. The trees will be traditionally adapted fruits trees mixed with more exotic fruits like olives, pawpaws, and persimmons. Little known shrub crops like gooseberry and Chinese dogwood will be along the southern portion of the eco-orchard to avoid shading from the larger trees. The understory will consist primarily of herbaceous perennials, selected for their ability to provide fertility, so that the micro-farm will not need fertilization inputs. In some cases, these understory plants will be edible for humans and/or provide other economic values. The micro-farm will also include bee hives, a green house, ducks, and chickens as part of its diversified eco-management system.