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Land Acquisition Program

A photo of Midland Park prior to the Nature Patch installation.
PP&R is continually identifying opportunities and gathering information for potential park acquisitions. Community nominations are one of the ways that PP&R learns about these opportunities.
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Property acquisitions for park purposes are made possible through a variety of resources. In some cases, funds are obtained for the purchase of a specific piece of property through grants or special one-time allocations from City Council. Bond measures have provided resources for park acquisition in the past. The Park System Development Charge fund can be used for acquisitions that add capacity to the park system to address the need created by new development. PP&R has received properties through generous donations, foreclosures, or surplus properties from other public entities. PP&R also partners with other Bureaus and agencies in funding the acquisition of properties that serve multiple needs. 

PP&R’s Land Acquisition Strategy (pdf) provides the framework for determining which potential acquisition projects to pursue. The strategy focuses on these program areas:

      • Recreational trail corridors
      • In-holdings and adjacent properties
      • Natural areas
      • Outdoor recreational opportunities
      • Indoor recreational opportunities
      • Significant cultural resource properties
      • Maintenance and administrative facilities

PP&R is continually identifying opportunities and gathering information for potential park acquisitions. Community nominations are one of the ways that PP&R learns about these opportunities. The Site Nomination Form provides staff with the basic information needed to evaluate a suggested site. Once the form is received, preliminary research and review is completed to determine how well the site fits with the PP&R acquisition criteria in the Land Acquisition Strategy. If PP&R finds that the site is not in alignment with the Land Acquisition Strategy, PP&R will inform the submitter. If the site is in alignment with the Land Acquisition Strategy, then PP&R will consider the site in the context of other acquisition opportunities and available funding, and the submitter will be notified that this is a site that PP&R will consider in the future. In general, PP&R does not use eminent domain to purchase land, but it can be used in rare cases with the approval of City Council. In those cases, the owner would likely be compensated with fair market value or higher for the property easement. But usually, if a property owner is not interested in selling land or easements to PP&R, PP&R respects an owner’s decision and does not force an acquisition. 

As funds for acquisition become available, properties listed in the inventory are evaluated based on the City’s acquisition priorities and, if applicable, the criteria of the funding source. This is an ongoing process. For some funding sources, funds for acquisition compete with funds for development, programming, or other Bureau needs. Generally, Parks has very limited funding for the acquisition.

To view a slideshow illustrating the acquisition of park land in the PP&R by decade, click here.

PP&R Site Nomination Form

Please complete as much of the PP&R Site Nomination Form as you can, but do not worry if you cannot answer every question. However, the more information you can provide, the easier it will be for PP&R staff to identify and evaluate sites. Multnomah County tax account numbers are especially helpful. 

Land Acquisition Strategy

Since 1852 Portland’s residents have planned, protected, and treasured its parks and recreation facilities. Today Portland’s park system comprises more than 11,700 acres making it one of the largest urban park systems in the northwest.

The Future of Our Park System

Parks, natural areas, playgrounds, and community centers are integral to the city’s quality of life - they are places to unplug from technology, revered lands passed down from generation to generation, and an important source of low-cost, healthy activity and recreation.

Over the last century, Portlanders have preserved and built our incredible park system through a series of legacy investments. Historically, voters have committed to a bond or levy about every nine years. The Parks Replacement Bond was passed by the community in 2014, focusing on critical repairs to the system. 

A Visual History of Parks and Natural Areas

View a visual history of Portland's parks and natural areas through the years.