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Landscaping at new HIV Alliance location will help Long Tom Watershed

Volunteers planted landscaping at the new HIV Alliance location to help the quality of water entering the Long Tom Watershed. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – HIV Alliance of Eugene is relocating and they're moving into their new, larger building next week.

On Sunday morning, volunteers planted more than 500 native plants at their new site on City View Street.

The landscaping wasn't just for looks.

The yard work was done to improve the water quality at Amazon Creek.

The idea is that the new garden will filter rain water through the soil before it reaches the creek.

With Amazon Creek as a new neighbor, HIV Alliance wanted to be respectful to the new territory.

“This creek flows into, even though we're in an urban setting, it flows into the watershed that the Long Tom Watershed Council protects," said Renee Yandel, HIV Alliance executive director.

By partnering with the Long Tom Watershed Council, HIV Alliance and volunteers decided to plant a raingarden in the center of their parking lot.

According to the council, in Eugene, 70 percent of urban rainfall goes directly to Amazon Creek, the rest goes to the Willamette river.

This process can cause too much polluted water to run into the creek.

But the plants, they'll help.

"It allows the water that falls on the asphalt to first run through soil and plants that will clean, cool, and uptake the water, reducing and cleaning the amount of water that gets to the creek," said Sarah Whitney with the Long Tom Watershed Council.

The storm water retrofit project is funded by the city of Eugene, an Oregon watershed enhancement board grant, and HIV Alliance.

“This is not required by the city of Eugene, these guys are doing this work voluntarily,” said Whitney.

The majority of volunteers were part of a new nonprofit in town called Love in the Name of Christ, or Love Inc.

"We work with people who are just struggling in a specific time and try to help them get them over some of the hard times of life,” said Heidi Bolz, Executive Director of Love Inc.

Bolz said Love Inc. draws Christians together from all over central Lane County.

They do community projects big and small, anything from providing rides to doctor appointments to helping to plant 500 native plants at HIV Alliance.

The Long Tom Watershed Council said the one-day retrofit project can be done by other businesses and has several benefits.

“Because we're directly adjacent to Amazon Creek and we're planting a significant number, over 500 native plants on this site, we're effectively broadening the wildlife area for the amazon creek,” said Whitney.

If other businesses are interested in the voluntary stormwater retro-fit project, they can contact the Oregon Watershed Council.

If you are interested in learning more or booking Love Inc. to help with a project, visit their website, loveincclc.org.

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