Washington Park South Entry

Engineering And Design
Construction began February 2023 and is anticipated to continue until April 2024. During this time visitors to Washington Park should expect changing traffic patterns, short delays, and an excellent experience in the Park.
An illustrated drawing of the Washington Park South Entry concept design.
Expected Grand Opening May 2024

Happening Now

  • Contractors are pouring concrete for the entry monument wall. 
  • Contractors will be working on adjusting the location of the underground utilities in the project site.

Due to a number of incidents and continuous speeding, cyclists are being asked to take a detour and walk their bikes around the work zone when heading toward Highway 26. Thank you for your understanding as we continue this project. 

Completed Work

  • Week of 2/20/23 construction began. 
  • March 2023
    1. Trench dug for for monument wall footing.
    2. 3/14/23 Began pouring concrete for monument wall footing. 
    3. Began excavation for catch basin.
  • April 2023 
    1. Installed central monument wall footing. 
    2. Installed new catch basin, storm line, electrical and irrigation crossing Zoo Rd. 
    3. Discovered undocumented utilities. 
  • May 2023
    1. Demo island in the center of Knights Blvd. 
    2. Stormwater drains installed.
    3. Temporary speed bumps installed.
  • June 2023
    1. Finished underground pipe work.
    2. New retaining wall near the Children's Museum installed.
    3. Prepare footings for walls.
  • July 2023

    1. Installation of a new curb on the "central bean" area. 
  • August 2023

    1. Installed West side sidewalk.
    2. Completed Parking Lot A, B, and C seal-coat.
  • September 2023

    1. Installed East side sidewalk.
    2. Finished masonry work on the central wall.
    3. Excavated for water retention ponds and Weir foundations. 
  • October 2023

    1. Entry sign wall and central wall were completed. 
  • November 2023

    1. Installed floating sidewalk.
    2. South monument wall was completed.
  • December 2023

    1. Installed the liner and subsurface drain pipes in the stormwater basin.
  • January 2023
    1. Staircase and ADA walk installed. 
    2. Installed aggregate and stone boulders in stormwater basin. 
South Entry Floating Walkway
Recent work on the South Entry Project
Washington Park South Entry Stormwater Garden
Washington Park South Entry Staircase and Walkway

Project Background

The South Entry is one of a very limited number of ways for vehicles to enter Washington Park and access the park’s many cultural venues. For years it has been fraught by issues such as traffic backups onto Highway 26, confusing wayfinding, poor pedestrian circulation, ill-defined bike routes, and a lack of identity. All of these problems have negatively influenced the visitor experience for the park as well as the cultural institutions.

In 2012, Metro, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Washington Park Alliance commissioned a study to address character, circulation, and park experience in the park’s South Entrance area. This study recommended creating a new roadway system, changing parking layouts, designing attractive green open space components, and improving pedestrian and bike circulation to improve service delivery, visitor experience, and the sense of being in a park. This was known as the South Entry Vision. In 2018, the Washington Park Master Plan recommended implementing the first phase of the South Entry Vision. In April 2019, Portland Parks & Recreation begin planning and design development to implement the first part of the South Entry Vision in the South Entry area of Washington Park from Highway 26. In January of 2023 a contract was awarded for construction. Construction began in February of 2023.

Washington Park Master Plan

Project Goals

In keeping with the recently updated masterplan and through the work and communication with park cultural institutions and other project stakeholders, we defined three primary goals for the project: 

  1. Stormwater Management
  2. Creation of a Grand Entry to the Park
  3. Improved Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Vehicular Access / Circulation

Stormwater Management
As part of existing conditional use requirements for the Oregon Zoo and Washington Park, the proposed design is required to provide for a minimum of 1-acre of stormwater mitigation. The design of the entry centers around the creation of a stormwater garden to satisfy this requirement, and will filter pollutants as well as act as an attractive design feature. Through a series of cascading weirs and the use of steel and stone as well as new landscaping we will create a functional stormwater garden that is not only attractive and inviting but serves a critical environmental function.

Grand Entry
Washington Park houses a variety of different cultural and recreational activities. This includes the Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Gardens, Water Bureau reservoirs, as well as memorials, playgrounds, archery range, and miles of trails. The development of the Grand Entry will include new signage, monumentation, new landscape, lighting, and site furnishings that speak to the grand nature of this regional treasure. We are very excited about the possibilities the entry holds. Through the revision and ultimate creation of this new entry, we will deliver what is a long-serving iconic main entrance to the park. The development of the Grand Entry will follow through on the visioning that took place in the master plan and in 2012 during the South Entry Vision work, as well as give this beloved world-class destination park the sense of arrival it so desperately deserves and requires.

Improve Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Vehicular Access / Circulation
Increasing access for bicycle and pedestrian park users is a critical component of this project. Coming from Highway 26 there is a significant increase of bicycles and pedestrians that are directed through this entrance and we anticipate these numbers will grow. Directly south of the Highway 26 off-ramp the 4-T trail terminates and sends people over the highway towards SW Knight Blvd. Additionally, during large events (i.e. ZooLights) overflow parking has the effect of creating increased demands on this area, creating conflicts between bikes, cars, and pedestrians. To better accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic, we are proposing the creation of a six foot wide sidewalk that would parallel both sides of SW Knight Blvd into the park. In addition to sidewalks, we would also provide bicycle lanes that would generally parallel these new walks. Finally, we are working with engineers to develop street and lane configurations that we hope will help alleviate some of the congestion with vehicular traffic this entrance often sees, including bus staging areas.

Provide Feedback 

Should you have feedback we would love to hear from you. Please contact Project Manager, Travis Ruybal at travis.ruybal@portlandoregon.gov.

Tentative Schedule

  • Conceptual Design and Analysis: Spring 2020
  • Construction Documentation: Summer 2020
  • Permitting and Bidding: Fall/Winter 2022
  • Contract Award: February 2023
  • Construction: February 2023 through April 2024
  • Grand Opening: May 2024


Park Location or Entrance
Head of SW Park Place
Portland, OR 97210
400 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, OR 97210
Park Location or Entrance
4000 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR 97210

Hoyt Arboretum

Park Location or Entrance
4000 SW Fairview Blvd
Portland, OR 97221
Park Location or Entrance
SW Kingston Drive
Portland, OR 97201
Park Location or Entrance
SW Washington Way and Wright Avenue
Portland, OR 97204


Danny Dunn

Program Coordinator