Parks Commissioner Rubio directs Mill Park development to move forward

News Article
Tall trees and path through the grass at Mill Park
East Portland park to have a new playground, community garden, splash pad, and more.

(Portland, OR) –  

Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) are pleased to announce that work is beginning to fully develop Mill Park, located at SE 117th Avenue and Mill Court in East Portland. PP&R will move forward on a new playground, Portland Community Garden, splash pad, and many other amenities. City Council will formalize the project later in April.

"East Portland lacks sufficient park amenities, and I’m eager to see PP&R partner with the area’s diverse communities to create a much-needed signature park for the Mill Park neighborhood," said Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio. "The park is just a few blocks from SE 122nd Avenue and next door to an elementary school that welcomes children who speak over 30 different languages. A redeveloped Mill Park will give kids and adults a safe place to play, relax, and build community in this dense and diverse neighborhood."

Developing Mill Park is key to serve the needs of East Portland and its growth. The existing park has an informal walking trail, open lawn, and mature trees but is otherwise undeveloped. The investment advances the community’s vision for the park that was originally developed through the 2017 Mill and Midland Parks Combined Master Plan. Mill Park is a 5.7-acre park located next to Mill Park Elementary in the David Douglas School District.

"As we have seen this past year, access to parks is more important than ever. Providing spaces for our community to recreate, grow their own food, and gather safely is essential to our neighbors' wellbeing," said Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long. "We know that healthy parks mean a healthy Portland, and all Portlanders need access to parks. The development of Mill Park is another step toward creating equitable park access for East Portland residents."

The improvements are guided by the park's 2017 Master Plan that was designed with broad community support. Ongoing engagement with the community will direct the design of park features that may include a playground, splash pad, central lawn and sports field, gathering area, picnic shelter and tables, a Portland Community Garden, paved pathways, art, and other park amenities. 

The design and community engagement process are expected to conclude this winter. Bidding and permitting will take another year, and construction will likely begin in spring 2023, with completion in summer 2024. 

Project Background

The 2017 Mill and Midland Parks Combined Master Plan was completed after an extensive community engagement process with an intentional focus on engaging underserved communities in the area. Approved by City Council on November 8, 2017, at a Council meeting held at David Douglas High School, the plan delivers on the City of Portland's pledge to enhance parks in East Portland. View the preferred design for Mill Park from the 2017 Master Plan and the full combined Mill and Midland Park Master Plans.

The project includes $10.4 million of SDC funds, one-time fees assessed on new development to help ensure that Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city and its need for infrastructure. By law, Parks SDC funds can only be used to expand or enhance capacity to the PP&R system. Resources from the recently passed Parks Local Option Levy will allow PP&R to maintain Mill Park and keep the investment safe and clean.

About Commissioner Rubio

Commissioner Carmen Rubio joined the Portland City Council in January 2021 and is Portland’s first Latinx commissioner. She oversees Portland Parks & Recreation, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Office of Community Technology; has liaison responsibilities to the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, League of Oregon Cities, Metro Policy Advisory Council, and Portland Community Media; and serves as Portland’s Arts Commissioner.


Mill Park

Park Location or Entrance
SE 117th Avenue and Mill Court
Portland, OR 97216