Watershed Blog

NAYA Family Canoe Journey Project: A Relational Worldview Awakening

Jennifer Seamans, Watershed Center Manager, 503-823-2862 or watershed@swni.org 
with Mary Renville, Portland Youth & Elders Council, NAYA

NASA family canoe journey
The NAYA Canoe Family practices on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at Willamette Park using the loaner canoe, in preparation for the Paddle to Nisqually in July 2016.


Since April 2016, the South Portland and SWNI boards, the SWNI Equity Team and the SW Watershed Resource Center have endorsed and supported the NAYA Family Canoe Journey project. This project was started less than three years ago by a small group of elders and dedicated volunteers at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) and has grown into a dynamic community effort made up of people from many walks of life.

Healthy People, Healthy Rivers

The project actively works to promote a healthy balanced lifestyle within the urban Native American community and considers this venture a revitalization of an ancient cultural practice based on sharing, celebrating and guiding our community. Reviving these traditional lifeways honors the original caretakers of this land and the Willamette River tributaries and watershed. The project also highlights the awareness that we are all connected through the health of our water and rivers.

Slavin Court Community Transforms Stormwater Path

Jennifer Seamans, Watershed Center Manager, 503-823-2862 or watershed@swni.org

Volunteers digging up grass lawn
Volunteers begin replacing a muddy path (back) with a porous walkway by using a broadfork from the WRC tool shed to decompact the soil and remove lawn, the dense root mat of which increases runoff.  Photos: Jennifer Seamans


When residents at the Slavin Court apartment community in the South Portland neighborhood met with SW Watershed Resource Center (WRC) staff Jen Seamans and Sanjane Ceesay in March 2016, several project ideas for common areas of the property were immediately suggested. Families wanted areas where they could grow vegetables. A few people voiced concerns about the pavement next to the playground creating a small pond when it rained. Older youth wanted areas where they could put their creativity and ideas into action.

Welcome Sanjane Ceesay!

Welcome Sanjane Ceesay! Most people just call him "Ceesay," and he is the new Watershed Program Specialist for the Watershed Resource Center at Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc.

Ceesay picture
Sanjane Ceesay, WRC Program Specialist