Accept the 2021 South Park Blocks Master Plan as a guide for future use and development of the park


WHEREAS, the City of Portland acknowledges it was and is the home of many Tribal Nations and a site of trade, travel, and healing for Native people since time immemorial; and

WHEREAS, the City of Portland acknowledges that Native people have been displaced from their abundant homelands throughout history by policies, such as, but not limited to, the Indian Removal Act of 1930 that institutionalized the theft of tribal lands and removal of Native Americans from their ancestral territories, including all of what is now the Portland Metropolitan area, to pave the way for white settlement; and

WHEREAS, on December 17, 2020 the Portland City Council passed Resolution No. 37528 to adopt actions identified through the Regional Collaborative Land Acknowledgement Project that promote consistent awareness and inclusion of Native people in all City business and more equitable outcomes for Native People; and

WHEREAS, the South Park Blocks (“Park”) is one of the oldest developed parks in the City of Portland, with twelve contiguous blocks as part of a larger 24‑block sequence dedicated in 1852; and

WHEREAS, on April 21, 2016 the Design Commission approved the Broadway Tower land use proposal with a condition of approval that the applicant make a financial contribution to fund a Master Plan for the South Park Blocks to address vegetation management, restorative improvements to historic elements of the park, replacement of infrastructure, and expanded use of the park; and

WHEREAS, on July 9, 2018 City Council passed Resolution No. 37360 to adopt the Central City 2035 Plan Action Charts that included five-year actions to develop a strategy for inventorying, removing, and replacing trees in the Park to eliminate safety hazards while maintaining or enhancing canopy coverage and habitat and to develop a strategy/plan to renovate the PSU-managed section of the Park, and six-to-twenty year action items to obtain a historic designation for the Park and develop a strategy for maintenance and operations; and

WHEREAS, on July 9, 2018, Council adopted the Central City 2035 Plan Green Loop Concept Report via Resolution No. 37361, which directs City bureaus to further develop the alignment, key connections, design character and engineering of the Green Loop and to integrate Green Loop facilities into project planning, design, and construction; and

WHEREAS, the Central City 2035 Plan Policy 5.12 calls for the creation of the Green Loop to connect east and west side neighborhoods to open spaces and the Willamette River, with high quality bicycle accommodations, tree canopy, innovative, park-like pedestrian environments, and wildlife habitat connections and also calls for enhancing connections to the Green Loop on key corridors to improve access, create activity nodes and support neighborhood attractions and economic development; and

WHEREAS, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation, developed a concept for the Connected Cultural District, described in Exhibit B, as a vision of an expanded South Park Blocks, connecting building to building in the three cultural district blocks between SW Jefferson and Salmon Streets and extending a traffic-free Green Loop connection along Park Avenue West to join Portland State University Campus, a concept that is separate but built upon the Park Master Plan; and

WHEREAS, the Park is part of a larger park block spine connecting Downtown Portland’s cultural and educational centers, and it provides for a range of passive and active recreational activities and serves as the venue for community events like the Portland Farmers Market; and

WHEREAS, the Park master planning process has included community engagement throughout for visioning, concept development, concept review, and draft preferred design review with outreach to Spanish-speakers, cultural institutions, community partners, neighborhood associations, the general public and targeted focus groups with youth, PSU students and Native American community members to gather valuable input; and

WHEREAS, the Park master planning process has provided an opportunity to learn about the Park history and existing features, confront new challenges and opportunities and combine these learnings with public and stakeholder input to enhance the Park for current and future needs; and

WHEREAS, the consultant team for the project has expertise in historic cultural landscapes and performed initial research and documentation of character-defining features and made recommendations in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for rehabilitation of this landscape to guide new development to be compatible yet distinct from what is historic; and

WHEREAS, the Park Master Plan provides direction to promote reconciliation and healing in the Park with more diverse cultural histories and identities represented in the art, landscape, and park features; and

WHEREAS, the Park Master Plan provides a comprehensive and vibrant vision to sustain and enhance the South Park Blocks for future generations.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council, a municipal corporation of the State of Oregon, affirms its acceptance of the 2021 South Park Blocks Master Plan, attached hereto as Exhibit A, as a guide for future use and development of the Park.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the City Council direct the Portland Bureau of Transportation, in cooperation with Portland Parks & Recreation, further the exploration of the Connected Cultural District concept, described in the attached Exhibit B, to expand on the design recommendations of the South Park Blocks Master Plan.

Impact Statement

Agenda Items


Oral record closed. Written record will remain open until July 21, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.

Continued to July 21, 2021 at 9:30 am.

584 Regular Agenda in July 21-22, 2021 Council Agenda


  • Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Yea
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea

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30 minutes