Remembering Bridlemile Citizen Greg Schifsky, 1946-2017
Written by Steve Mullinax, Bridlemile Neighborhood Association Vice Chair
The Bridlemile neighborhood owes a lot to Greg Schifsky. Greg lived in Bridlemile from about 1974 to 2016. Sadly, Greg passed away on June 26, 2017. He was living in Grants Pass.
Greg served for decades on the Board of the Bridlemile Neighborhood Association (BNA). One of his most productive projects for BNA was the work of the Bridlemile Creek Stewards. I attended my first BNA meeting in 1998 to ask about clearing English ivy from my creekside yard, hoping not to run afoul of regulations or upset any neighbors. The Board suggested I work with Greg, who was the BNA stormwater at the time. (I had no idea what clearing ivy had to do with stormwater!)
From this meeting, through Greg's and my joint efforts, the Bridlemile Creek Stewards were born. We recruited a team of Bridlemile neighbors. Regulars included Dave Baasch, Hal Bernton, Kathy Gantman, Marge Hanley, Jerry Eckstein and Victor Von Salza. Over the next eight years we would do many projects to improve habitat and water quality on Bridlemile's Fanno Creek tributary streams. We would restore, notably, first Hamilton Park, then Albert Kelly Park. Our first project, clearing invasive plants and planting natives, was October 31, 1998, on Fanno Creek behind Albertson's. We taught classes for kids at Bridlemile School, worked with homeowners and won grants from Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services. Perhaps our proudest moment was receiving the Green Heron Award, in 2005, from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Though the Creek Stewards are not currently active, there is a good history of our work at the
Bridlemile Creek Stewards web site
. (Thanks to Victor Von Salza for creating the web site, along with his restoration work.)
The Bridlemile Creek Stewards have planted several thousand trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in Bridlemile over the years. These are an ongoing improvement to the neighborhoods habitat and water quality as these plants mature and reproduce. Of course, there is always room to carry this improvement further, through everyone's continuing restoration efforts.
Visit Albert Kelly and Hamilton Parks to see Greg's ongoing legacy as a founder and tireless worker for the Bridlemile Creek Stewards. We miss his activism, his dedication to the neighborhood, and, not least, his friendship. We will plan to raise a toast in his honor soon, which should surely include a brunch at O'Connor's, where we wrapped up our New Years Day restoration work parties. If you are interested in festively remembering Greg, please email Steve Mullinax,