Commissioner Rubio Directs More PP&R Projects to Move Forward

News Article
Five projects funded with System Development Charges, not tax dollars

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio has approved new Parks System Development Charge (SDC) funding to go to several important park projects across the Rose City. Improvements to Portland’s popular Kelley Point Park, a new playground at East Portland’s Midland Park, a new skatepark in Southeast Portland, new land acquisitions, and other park improvements are now in the works and in various stages of planning, at the Commissioner’s direction. These projects are slated for funding in the City’s 2023-24 Fiscal Year, which begins July 1, 2023.

A wide view a family at the beach of Kelley Point Park. It's a partly cloudy day and a log is visible floating just offshore; trees with green leaves are in the left foreground; with the image dominated by the waters of the Columbia River
A family enjoys Kelley Point Park, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in North Portland.

Parks SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development in Portland, not General Fund tax dollars. SDCs help ensure Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing the additional park and recreation facilities needed to accommodate growth. By law, SDCs may only be used for improvements that will expand the capacity of the park system.

These projects are now on the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Capital Improvement Project list, with community engagement and other crucial planning continuing and/or soon to come.

“Our City’s beloved park system continues to be critical to Portlanders’ mental and physical well-being,” noted Parks Commissioner Rubio. “I’ve directed development fees to pay for these projects based on careful evaluation and input from PP&R and the public, with equity at the forefront of the decision-making process. At the same time, I will continue to look for sources of new funding to address the significant major maintenance and growth needs facing Portland Parks & Recreation.”

The project list:

  • Acquisition of new park land for a Portland Community Garden
    • $1 million in Park SDC funding to acquire park land in areas of Portland identified as lacking in green spaces. The focus of this project is to identify, acquire, design, and construct a community garden in Southwest Portland. 
  • Kelley Point Park: Development Plan and Park Improvements
    • Commissioner Rubio allocated an additional $3 million in SDC funds for the project, with SDC funding now totaling $4 million. The project will expand current picnic and trail amenities and provide greater access for this regionally significant park located in the St. Johns neighborhood in North Portland where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet. Specific improvements and amenities will be finalized during the public design process.
  • Midland Park playground           
    • PP&R will build a new playground at this East Portland park located at SE 122nd Ave and Morrison St next to Multnomah County’s Midland Library, per the Midland Park Master Plan (a park master plan is a document researched extensively and prepared to guide a park’s development). The new SDC allocation for the playground project is $2.5 million.
  • New PP&R skatepark (Southeast Portland, location TBD)
    • $5 million in Parks SDCs will fund a new skatepark in Southeast Portland to help fill an identified service gap.
    • A PP&R plan for community engagement in early 2023 is in the works.
  • Wilkes Creek Headwaters Property: Site Development
    • This 20-acre undeveloped hybrid park is at NE Fremont St and NE 154th Ave. The Parks SDC allocation is $4 million to complete a site master plan and pay for design and construction for portions of the site. Natural area restoration, trails, and developed park amenities are possible features for Wilkes Creek Headwaters.
    • Wilkes Creek Headwaters property contains the springs that feed the only free-flowing stream in the city that still enters the Columbia Slough. The City of Portland and Metro acquired the site in 2011. Since that time, PP&R and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) have worked to make the natural area portion of the site safe and to restore the ecosystem to support clean water and a healthy Columbia Slough watershed.
    • This project will involve collaboration with community leaders interested in this site to develop a master plan for the entire park, with a focus on including the voices of Native and Indigenous communities and communities of color. A goal of the project is to establish accessible nature experiences with cultural and ecological significance to an area of Portland that currently has few opportunities for meaningful access to natural areas.