(Portland, OR) –
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz ends her tenure on Council and as the Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks by celebrating more than a dozen Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) park and trail projects citywide.
“I asked Parks staff to end this challenging year by sending out the goodnews about new, upcoming, and recently completed Parks projects across the City,” says Commissioner Fritz. “The pandemic has made clear that our parks and recreation system is vital for all Portlanders’ mental and physical health. Like all PP&R work, these improvements are being made in partnership with neighbors, and I want everyone citywide to know about the progress being made. The projects will move us towards more equitable park access, meeting more Portlanders’ needs as the City continues to grow and develop.”
PP&R has completed and is working on numerous projects that are funded in part by Parks System Development Charges (SDCs). SDCs are not General Fund tax dollars; rather, SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new property development across the City. The City assesses and collects fees from developers when a new building in constructed, to allow Portland’s infrastructure keep up with the City’s growth. This includes growing the parks system.
Park SDCs are required by law to be used to expand capacity in the parks system. They cannot be used to maintain or repair existing park facilities. The Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks delegates Parks SDC towards Portland Parks & Recreation projects already identified as needs. SDCs help ensure that Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing additional parks and recreation facilities needed to meet the needs of a growing community.
“Even during challenging times, Portland Parks & Recreation continues to improve our City’s parks system, and to make it more equitable for all,” says PP&R Director Adena Long. “I thank PP&R staff for their continued dedication to caring for our parks, natural areas, trails, and facilities. We are planning for the park system for this generation of Portlanders and the next, and the thoughtful distribution of SDC funded projects across the City is vital to build the system Portland needs.”
System Development Charge (SDC) Parks Projects by Quadrant:
COLUMBIA CHILDREN’S ARBORETUM
- COMING SOON - Portland Parks & Recreation will increase accessibility and circulation at Columbia Children’s Arboretum with a project beginning in late 2021 (or early 2022, TBD). The project will involve building an accessible main trail through the site - vital for people to be able to get into and around the park. PP&R is also adding a bus drop-off/turn-around at the site, ADA parking, ADA portable restroom facilities, an upgraded picnic area, a nature interaction area, benches, irrigation, and new plantings. Columbia Children’s Arboretum is a regional destination and provides a beautiful, educational park and natural area for Portlanders. The unique, nearly 29-acre Arboretum is one of only two in the PP&R system, with the other being Hoyt Arboretum. New System Development Charge funding of $1.5M bring the total investment to $3,385,000.
SOUTHEAST PORTLAND PROJECTS
- MILL PARK – DEVELOPING A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
COMING SOON - The first phase of developing Mill Park into an amazing neighborhood gathering place with a playground, community garden, parking lot, and picnic shelter is getting underway. Mill Park comprises almost 6 acres at SE 117th Avenue and Mill Court. This project is moving ahead thanks to $6.5M in SDC funds. The park’s 2017 Master Plan will be a guide for the design. PP&R expects to begin the community engagement process around park planning and design in Spring 2021.
NEW SPLASH PAD AT KENILWORTH PARK
- COMING SOON - Kenilworth Park Splash Pad – PP&R is bringing a new interactive water play feature to this popular SE Portland park. Similar to interactive fountains, splash pads are summertime outdoor water play areas. When public health conditions again permit, kids and everyone young at heart can enjoy playing in the mist and spray, staying cool while enjoying Summer weather. Planning will begin in early 2021 with $1M in Parks SDC funding.
WASHINGTON PARK – A NEW PARK ENTRANCE WITH IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY
- IN PROGRESS - Washington Park South Entry improvements. Portland Parks & Recreation will create a new main entrance to Washington Park. Notable features include new and better access for people walking or using mobility devices, new bike lanes, additional and wider sidewalks, and improved roads and traffic patterns for vehicles so that the park can serve more visitors. The project will result include new signage, lighting, parking access, landscaping, and better stormwater management. The project will use $3.5M in SDC funds and $1.6M in revenue from paid parking (not taxpayer dollars). Washington Park is a beloved site with first-class attractions famous throughout the world. This project addresses many longstanding issues around access and accessibility and builds on the 2012 South Entry Vision completed by PP&R, Metro, and the Washington Park Alliance. Planning for this entry and access project is already underway. PP&R expects construction to begin in the Fall of 2021; the project is targeted for completion in Summer 2022.
WASHINGTON PARK – MORE ACCESSIBILITY, VEGETATION, SAFETY, AND ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS
- COMPLETE - Washington Park Stearns Canyon Improvements. This project added native vegetation, stabilized the hillside, and improved staircases, landings, and trails to improve accessibility. PP&R leveraged $100K in SDCs and $500K in maintenance funds to add safer and better access into and out of Washington Park.
RED ELECTRIC TRAIL
- COMING SOON – TheHillsdale Bridge segment of the Red Electric Trail Project - in conjunction with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The bridge will be a part of a regional trail for people on bikes, on foot, or using mobility devices. Approximately $1.1 in Parks SDCs are dedicated to planning and oversight for this portion of the Red Electric Trail design and construction.
PP&R’s funding partner, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, will manage the bridge design and construction as well as two trail segments connecting the bridge to SW Bertha and SW Capitol Highway. Work is expected to begin in 2021. After construction is complete, the trail and bridge will be managed by PP&R.
NORTH PORTLAND AND CITYWIDE
Portland Parks & Recreation nature patches for play, exploration, and ecological health in parks
- COMPLETE: Nature Patches now enhance Alberta, Columbia, Fernhill, Gabriel, Hazeltine, Irving, Lents, Midland, and Wilshire Parks after three years of planning and construction. These nine nature-focused destinations include boulders, logs, and pathways for play and exploration - and flowers and plants for pollinators. PP&R has replaced formerly muddy, underused spaces in Portland parks with nature patches, across the City. Staff laud nature patches as low-maintenance discovery zones appealing to all visitors, and PP&R is proud to deliver these innovative assets to our community. $450K in SDC funds provided the capital for three nature patches and contributed to the development of several others. Visit portland.gov/parks/nature-patches for more information about nature patches and PP&R’s Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative (ESLI). ESLI was an effort led by PP&R’s now-retired Senior Planner Emily Roth.
NORTH PORTLAND AND CITYWIDE - LAND ACQUISITIONS
- COMPLETE - Portland Parks & Recreation recently acquired several pieces of land in various parts of the City to enhance, expand, and/or protect Portland’s park system. Using SDC funds, PP&R took over caring for several ecologically healthy parcels that were adjacent to NW Portland’s Forest Park and are now permanently part of the park. PP&R also gained parcels in North Portland that will further connect the North Portland Greenway between Cathedral Park and Baltimore Woods Natural Area. PP&R also acquired forested acreage with a stream to add to SW Portland’s Terwilliger Parkway – and will protect it as a natural area.