(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will begin replacing dozens of light poles across 11 city parks this month, starting with Colonel Summers Park at SE 17th Avenue and Taylor Street. The entire project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.
Construction schedules are heavily dependent on weather and the availability of materials, but PP&R expects to add 13 new poles to Colonel Summers Park within the coming weeks.
The project to remove and replace poles is necessary as the poles, some of which are up to a century old, have faulty structural anchoring issues that make them unsafe for public use.
Portland Parks & Recreation also established a partnership with Portland General Electric to install area lighting at other parks throughout the city, including Lents Park, segments of the Springwater Corridor, Peninsula Crossing Trail, and Clinton Park, among others. These are small and simple improvements using existing power poles in and around parks to cost-effectively add illumination in Portland’s parks.
Environmentally friendly with an eye on the skies
The new LED lights are 66% more efficient than the ones they’re replacing, and the bulbs will last longer. The fixtures will be Dark Sky-friendly and will be fully shielded to prevent skyward “spill.” They will be directed at park pathways with less light pointed at neighboring homes. The new light poles and fixtures were selected to replicate the previous ones as closely as possible, and the lights will be automatically programmed to remain on from dusk to dawn.
Some parks will have additional lights installed to enhance brightness and visibility. Meanwhile, in other parks, fewer lights will be required because the new ones offer better coverage than the ones that were removed.
What to expect
During construction efforts, trucks and equipment may temporarily be on paved park paths. Park visitors may need to veer off the path to avoid construction work and obstacles.
PP&R is working with the Office of Community and Civic Lifeto share information with affected neighborhoods and will update the project schedule as circumstances warrant.
Current tentative project schedule in order:
- Colonel Summers Park
- Sellwood Park
- Sellwood Riverfront Park
- Irving Park
- Montavilla Park
- Mt. Scott Park
- Wallace Park
- Woodstock Park
- Ladd Circle Park
- Lair Hill Park
- Mt. Tabor Park
Funding and background
To ensure the replacement of the light poles as quickly as possible, Portland’s Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan presented an emergency ordinance to City Council on April 5, 2023, which allowed PP&R to purchase all replacement light poles simultaneously. The coordinated replacement is speeding up the effort to bring new, safe, energy-efficient lights to the four Portland parks where lights were removed last year for safety concerns.
The project funding effort is an example of different government agencies working together to solve a problem that affects multiple jurisdictions.
Metro has recommended approval of PP&R’s request for $2 million of PP&R’s share of Metro's Parks and Nature Bond, Local Share resources for the project. This funding allowed PP&R to purchase all the new replacement light poles quickly, and to significantly speed up the safety project. PP&R and Commissioner Ryan have also worked with Oregon’s federal delegation to seek additional federal earmarks for the project. In particular, Congressman Earl Blumenauer worked to ensure that $500,000 for the project was included in pending funding legislation.
"We took extraordinary measures to partner with other jurisdictions to address an extraordinary project,” said Commissioner Ryan earlier this year. “I'm proud of PP&R and my team and grateful to our partners, so a project that would usually take a City bureau some years to fix will now take months."
For more information in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali, please visit the project webpage at www.portland.gov/lightproject.
Do not attach anything to park light poles per Portland City Code 10.12.100.