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Portland Parks & Recreation Removes Older Park Light Posts, Plans Replacement as Funding Allows

News Article
The Bureau is removing a portion of light poles in 12 City parks that have been identified as having structural anchoring issues that could pose life and safety hazards to the public.

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is removing a portion of light poles in 12 City parks that have been identified as having structural anchoring issues that could pose life and safety hazards to the public. Work to remove light poles is expected to begin on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.  

A light pole in Woodstock Park awaits removal and replacement It is on leaf-covered grass with trees surrounding it, on a partly sunny day.
A light pole in Woodstock Park which will be removed and eventually replaced as part of this maintenance project.

PP&R recently conducted a system-wide review of 1,000 light poles in City parks, some of which are over 100 years old. Through this effort, PP&R identified 243 light poles that include structurally unsound anchoring systems that may pose a life and safety hazard to the public and must be removed.  

The light poles being removed from City parks are not the only things that need significant repair or replacement. Recent closures of Columbia Pool and O’Bryant Square are examples of this system-wide challenge.

“PP&R estimates that one in five park assets could be removed or closed within the next 15 years without new, sustainable funding,” said PP&R Director Adena Long. “Currently, there is about $600 million of repair and replacement work needed for the park and recreation system, including walking paths, playgrounds, pools, community centers, and a variety of assets that are beyond their service life. PP&R has been working to address this challenge through its Sustainable Future Initiative, which is an effort to align equitable service with available funding.”

PP&R will remove light poles that pose life and safety hazards to the public in the following parks (for details of light pole removal, please visit Light Pole Safety Project):

          Park Name                                 # Light Poles to be Removed

· Colonel Summers Park                                       12 of 16

· Irving Park                                                               73 of 78

· Ladd Circle Park                                                      4 of 20

· Lair Hill Park                                                             5 of 9

· Montavilla Park                                                     6 of 17

· Mt. Scott Park                                                       18 of 22

· Mt. Tabor Park     `                                               81 of 216

· Rose City Golf Course                                           1 of 1

· Sellwood Park                                                       17 of 23

· Sellwood Riverfront Park                                   14 of 17

· Woodstock Park                                                   8 of 25

· Wallace Park                                                           4 of 6

Funding and Replacement

PP&R redirected $5 million from already budgeted major maintenance funding to remove the light poles and begin the partial replacement process. Currently, the project is estimated to cost $15 million. 

Replacement of a portion of the light poles will take up to 16 months. Light pole replacements will be prioritized for Irving Park and Mt. Scott Park based on an equity analysis. PP&R does not currently have sufficient funding to replace all light poles in the park system.

To help ensure park rules are being followed at night, PP&R will prioritize visits by Park Rangers in the affected parks. PP&R is also exploring opportunities to maximize the use of remaining lights to keep affected parks as bright as possible. In addition, Portland Commissioner of Culture & Livability Dan Ryan has directed PP&R to close affected parks at 10:00 p.m.

Commissioner Ryan added, “Portlanders love their parks, and as the new Parks Commissioner, and someone who grew up in Portland, I’m dedicated to ensuring all Portlanders can safely gather, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors in their neighborhood park. I know Portlanders don’t want to see equipment removals or closures in our parks. The park system we enjoy today is the result of repeated investment by Portland voters through a series of bonds to address capital maintenance needs like this light pole replacement project.I will work with PP&R and community partners to explore funding to replace light poles as quickly as possible and to support the bureau’s Sustainable Future effort to ensure we and future generations have the park system we need in Portland.”

For more information about Portland’s history of supporting parks through bonds and levies, please visit Park Acquisition Sequence.

For more information in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali, please visit the project webpage at Light Pole Safety Project.

Do not attach anything to poles. Portland City Code 20.12.100.

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