PORTLAND -- A giant log draped in ribbons is sitting in the middle of the play ground at the Hosford Middle School in the Hawthorne section of Southeast Portland. It took me a while to figure out why this thing was sitting there for no apparent reason.
The Timbers returned home from San Jose, where they played the Earthquakes to a 1-1 draw about 18 hours earlier, and went immediately to the school to help put the finishing touches on a project they've been working on.
The MLS Works/Continental Tires "How Green Are Your Goals" program picked this school in the middle of a residential area to receive green energy upgrades.
A storm garden will collect and use rain water as opposed to having it run off into a sewer. Bike racks made from recyclable material are there to encourage bike riding rather than driving.
A water fountain shows how many plastic bottles are not going to the garbage dump by using said water fountain.
And a solar energy panel is already helping the school to cut down on its energy use.
"The fact that this can generate enough power to actually power a home for three months is pretty incredible," said Timber Joey, the team mascot.
Joey also used that chainsaw he's always toting around Jeld-Wen Field during games to make a few park benches on the school grounds. Usually the chainsaw is for cutting slabs of wood symbolic of a Timbers goal.
"There were a lot of people who made the work pretty easy, I put a little into it, but everybody deserves credit for what happened today," he said.
What happened on this Earth-Day-Monday was the culmination of roughly thirty days of work, or the amount of time it took to almost complete this project. New trees were still being planted when we arrived.
"I've planted a few trees, but this is probably the biggest one," said Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury.
The Timbers burst onto the MLS scene in 2011, but have seemingly spent more time in the community, than on the field. It's not something Jewsbury seems to mind.
"When you're out in the community doing things like this," he said, "or just out with your family, there are people who truly care not only about the weekends, but what we do day in and day out and that means a ton to the players."
This community means a lot to the mascot too.
"It's not a surprise to anybody who lives in Portland that we'll be able to put our hands in and make it a better place," Timber Joey said proudly.
And with that it was time to debut the newly completed project with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
But when the Timbers are involved you don't cut ribbons. You cut ribbons, which are draped around a log.
Finally, I figured out what that thing was doing there...