PORTLAND, Oregon — There's still action at Ockley Green Middle School in North Portland, just not in the classrooms.
"With something like this it’s not where you start, it’s if you start," said Chido Nmereole. "There’s a lot of chaos happening in 2020, so I think the best way to stand out and also create a legacy is by doing things for people."
The learning behind the school building, you might say, is starting from the ground up. "I’ll be quite honest, I’ve never gardened a day in my life," said Nmereole with a smile.
With help from Our Streets PDX, the 24-year-old hopes his latest project will grow into something beautiful. Back in May, Nmereole started Project Floyd, named after George Floyd, an effort to help shape a better Portland. He began by picking up trash left behind in the streets after nightly downtown demonstrations.
"If I’m going to use somebody’s name, then make sure that things you are doing are good and just and transparent," he said. "The whole thing about Project Floyd is just make as big of an impact as possible."
Nmereole is now focused on clearing out a forgotten community garden so the neighborhood can once again enjoy it. It took about 10 volunteers, with overgrowth. Then the plan is to rebuild eight old planter boxes and level out an area where they can place a patio area with seating for people to relax. Nmereole is slowly chipping away at his vision, and something bigger.
"When you hear George Floyd, you can think of community outreach and good things, things that really help people rather than 'oh, he was a man that was unjustly slain.'"
Always looking for his next project, not the recognition, if he can make the community a little better and inspire others to do the same, he's happy to have planted the seed.
"So people know what you're doing, people believe and trust in what you're doing and in turn that will give you more energy to do good things."
He’s always accepting volunteers and donations to help buy supplies. You can learn more on his Instagram page.