Parks Director Mike Abbate read this statement on behalf of Nick:
“I am sorry I could not join you today. Thanks to everyone who has lifted me up as I fight my cancer.
“Leach Botanical Gardens is the crown jewel of East Portland. But even the brightest jewel needs a good polishing. When construction is finished, this will be a world-class botanical garden.
“Today we’re taking a giant step forward, building on John and Lilla Leach’s enduring legacy. I know that they would be very proud that Leach Botanical Gardens will continue to serve East Portland, as well as visitors from around the world, for generations to come.
“I would like to take a moment to acknowledge all of the champions who made this day possible. They include former Parks Commissioner Charles Jordan, whose famous last-minute change-of-heart preserved this space as a permanent Portland Park. Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Parks Director Mike Abbate have been steadfast and generous in their support. David Porter and the Leach board of directors are model stewards of this community treasure. And to all of the donors, supporters, visitors, and staff – thank you!”