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Commissioner Dan Ryan Directs Improvements at University Park

News Article
Improvements yet to be determined; funded by development fees, not tax dollars

(Portland, OR) –

Portland’s Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan, who oversees Portland Parks  Recreation, has directed that University Park receive improvements funded by System Development Charges (SDCs). Portland Parks & Recreation staff anticipate that after community input, and project scoping and planning are finalized, improvement projects may be completed sometime in 2026.

“There is a long list of needs across the city,” notes Commissioner Ryan. “And I believe that helping to revitalize this crucial place to play in the Portsmouth area will be a tremendous asset for neighbors to improve their physical and mental health. The adjacent Charles Jordan Community Center will complement new amenities at University Park for an improved, holistic recreational experience.”

University Park in December 2023, with the park sign on a large open grassy area on a cloudy day.

The specifics of the University Park improvements and the funding amount will be informed by further community engagement.

Park SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development, not General Fund tax dollars. SDCs help ensure that, as the city grows in population, its quality of life keeps pace with its infrastructure needs. Current state law restricts that SDC resources can only be used for improvements that will expand the capacity of the parks and recreation system and cannot be used to fix or maintain current assets.

University Park is a Portsmouth neighborhood gathering space of nearly 12 acres, adjacent to Charles Jordan Community Center. It has popular but aging sports fields for soccer and softball, an accessible play area, a picnic table, public art, and park paths. An accessible restroom is available inside the community center.

Portland Parks & Recreation will continue to update the community about University Park community engagement, plans, and timelines as more information becomes available.

A Sustainable Future

The Portland Parks & Recreation system is facing a major maintenance backlog of nearly $600 million. This amount has been identified but remains unfunded. In recent years, several assets have failed and had to be closed or removed to protect the public. Without new, stable funding, the bureau predicts that one in five PP&R assets will fail in the next 15 years.

Portland Parks & Recreation continues to work with Commissioner Ryan, who is looking forward to more conversations about supporting maintenance at the levels needed to prevent future closures, and how we as a community can make that happen. The bureau and Commissioner’s office are exploring various ways to help close this funding gap, while still managing risk, through the Sustainable Future program.

For more information about PP&R funding, visit Understanding Our Funding Sources.



Park Location or Entrance
9009 N Foss Avenue
Portland, OR 97217