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Botanical Explorers: John and Lila Leach

  • Taborspace 5441 Southeast Belmont Street Portland, OR, 97215 United States (map)

Lilla and John Leach, both pioneer descendants, were a remarkable couple by any measure.  Lilla was a passionate amateur botanical explorer, who, with John and their two burros as companions, ventured deep into the mountain ranges of the Pacific NW, discovering five plants new to science.  Beginning in the 1930s, their lives focused on their estate and gardens at ‘Sleepy Hollow’, where they lived happily until the 1970s. John was a successful pharmacist, civic leader, metal worker and story teller.  In 1981 their estate became a Portland Park facility and has served the community ever since with beautiful plantings, trails and unexpected discoveries.  Run by the non-profit Leach Garden Friends, classes, lectures, tours and events take place year round at the Garden. 

In 2018, PP&R and the Friends intend to complete new facilities, plant collections, and experiences for the public, more than doubling the Garden’s developed acreage.  Join us on Tuesday, April 11th as David Porter, Executive Director of the Leach Bontanical Garden takes us from the early Leach love story through the evolution and development of the Garden’s public existence, with a closing preview of the coming improvements.   

David Porter has been Executive Director at Leach Botanical Garden since 2010.  Prior to that, he was director at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.  He has been a non-profit executive working on community projects since 1980.   A Portland native, Porter graduated with a degree in Political Science from Portland State University.  Porter has been a freelance writer and project consultant.  He serves on the Oregon Heritage Markers Committee.  Other volunteer work has included the Western Museums’ Association board, Oregon Travel Information Council, and Rotary International.  He spends much time with his grandchildren, plays soccer and paints for recreation.