An Overdue Update from PBG

Over the past year, we’ve been pretty quiet, but the work behind the scenes has been in full force! So we’d like to take this time, using our brand new blog, the PBG Journal, to provide you with as much of an update as we are able to–this includes information about the search for a location for Portland Botanical Gardens.

Organizational Changes

As you may have seen from our newsletter, Kate Bodin stepped down as Executive Director recently. We’re in the process of reorganizing our leadership team to focus more on building and running a botanical garden than building and running a nonprofit. Kate has done incredible wonders for this organization over the past 4 years and will continue to do great work on the board as she focuses on building our education team!

Leadership Transitions

Since Kate’s retirement, we have brought on Scot Medbury, former President of Brooklyn Botanic Garden (14 years) and former Executive Director of Sonoma Botanical Garden (3 years). Scot will be taking the role of Senior Strategic Advisor and we plan to do an introduction post and interview soon! In the meantime, he is helping our Board of Directors update and improve our bylaws and governance structure so we can better pivot to running a botanical garden as we continue shifting in that direction. Earlier this year, we also added Matt Taylor as a Project Director. Ben Ngan from NNA Landscape Architects joined our board recently as well. We are very excited to welcome Scot Medbury, Matt Taylor, and Ben Ngan into the room as we continue to make informed and deliberate decisions so we can build a solid foundation for PBG.

Programs and Events

Michael Hyde has been an absolute champion during these silent months as he has continued to run Portland Plant Strolls and meetings with the education team. As we go into winter, it may be a while before we have more programming for supporters to partake in. Our main concern right now is acquiring land and working toward an initial capital campaign. Any and all donations at this time help us keep the lights on as our land acquisition team continues their hard work. These donations–and donations from the past 4 years–have been instrumental in allowing us to maintain our operations needs!

Finding a Location for the Botanical Gardens

The land acquisition process has been long, challenging, and discrete. We want to take this time to reassure you that we are still working toward this goal and we hope to have more information before the end of the year. The current situation is complicated but progressing and we are optimistic and committed to giving you regular updates when we are able to. One of the reasons we have been so quiet is because one year ago, we signed a non-disclosure agreement–this ends today (11/22/23). We still cannot share anything at this time other than what we’ve included in this blog post, but within the coming weeks, we can be much more transparent about our intentions, plans, goals, and realistic projections for PBG! We also want to take this opportunity to thank the entire land acquisition team for their tireless work over the past 2.5 years to get us to this point.

Online Presence

Ty Seely is heading up our social media and we are so very grateful for his contributions to our online presence. As the land acquisition process continues, we’ve tightened up our budget, which has led to a decreased social media presence. We hope to maintain the Plant of the Week posts as often as we can! We will also be updating our website to better represent where we are in the process.

Webshop

Over the past several months, we have been experiencing some supply chain issues with some of our merchandise. Thank you to everyone who has ordered from our webshop and thank you to everyone who has been patient and understanding as we continue to straighten out these complications! Since we do not have storage space, most of our merchandise is on demand, which means that we get caught up in delays and shortages more often than organizations that have space. Tightening our budget has also required us to pause the Commemorative Series program—what’s listed in our webshop is still available, though. Thank you to Natalie Myers-Guzman for all of the incredible illustrations she has created so far, and we intend to continue the program, right where we left off, when we are able to!

Optimism for the Near Future

The future looks bright for PBG, and even though we cannot share a lot about our search for land right now, we assure you that there are exciting milestones and updates ahead! Our volunteers and few paid employees have done so much hard work to bring us to this point over the past 4 years, and we are so grateful for them. We also could not have gotten to this point without the support and trust of you! All of our donors, supporters, partners, collaborators, followers, subscribers, and more. You are what will make Portland Botanical Gardens happen and your involvement is crucial to the ongoing operations of this organization.

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