Hal HushbeckPhoto by Paul Neevel

Hal Hushbeck

Native plant slinger

I’ve been working six or seven days a week,” says Hal Hushbeck, native plant nursery manager for the Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah, who oversees the production of more than 100 species of native flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees. He works with a paid field crew of four and a pool of 50 volunteers. Starts, bulbs and seeds from the nursery are planted to restore native habitats in the park and in neighboring areas. “We do fee-for-service restoration on the Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Confluence project and on the power line right-of-way,” he says. “Our seeds are sourced from within the park boundary and sold to adjacent landowners doing restoration.” Hushbeck grew up in California’s Central Valley and served in the Air Force during the Vietnam war. He used the GI Bill for an associate’s degree in pre-forestry from Columbia College in Sonora. He moved to Eugene in 1971, used up his GI Bill, then worked at Mama’s Homefried Truckstop as a maintenance person until 1979. He established recycling at the county waste transfer site in Marcola and learned about environmental issues while working in the Oregon Natural Resources Council (now Oregon Wild) office. In 1996, he earned a BS in environmental studies from the UO. After two years of wetlands mitigation for the city of Eugene, he took a job on the field crew for the Friends of Buford Park in 2000. “I was the field crew,” he notes. The Native Plant Nursery was laid out and fenced in 2004. Its size was doubled to three acres in 2013, when Hushbeck became manager. “On Jan. 1, 2018, I will retire,” he says. “The job has been posted.”