Columbia Children’s Arboretum Reopening Is a “Dream Realized”

News Article
Portland Parks & Recreation Project Complete, Community Celebration June 11

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is proud to announce the completion of improvements and accessibility enhancements to the Columbia Children’s Arboretum.

The unique Northeast Portland natural area fully reopened a few weeks ago after work was finished. One of the many improvements included making pathways throughout the site accessible by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

The sign reading "Columbia Children's Arboretum" with the PP&R hand and leaf logo welcomes arboretum visitors on a recent sunny day, alongside a new accessible path.
The sign reading "Columbia Children's Arboretum" with the PP&R hand and leaf logo welcomes arboretum visitors on a recent sunny day, alongside a new accessible path.

“The Columbia Children’s Arboretum is a deeply loved spaced with a rich history,” says Portland Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan. “I can’t wait to visit again and see how much easier it is for people of all abilities to get into and around this cherished natural destination.”

Join State Representative Travis Nelson, Commissioner Ryan, retired former Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, PP&R Director Adena Long, neighbors, and supporters at the Columbia Children’s Arboretum reopening celebration on Sunday, June 11, 2023, from 1-4pm. Enjoy live music, refreshments, and activities for kids!

What: Celebrate the improvements at the Columbia Children’s Arboretum with live music, refreshments, and activities for kids!

When: Sunday, June 11, 2023, 1-4pm

Where: Columbia Children’s Arboretum, east end.

Please enter at the west end off of N 6th Drive. Parking available on NE Middlefield Road. Take a walk through the arboretum and see the added improvements while you make your way to the party.

“This celebration will culminate years of planning, stewardship, volunteer and staff efforts, and community engagement for this treasured destination,” says Director Long. “We are proud to be protecting the natural resource that is the arboretum, while at the same time providing needed recreational opportunities.”

The newly-finished accessible parking area at the Columbia Children's Arboretum in Northeast Portland.
The project provides new, accessible elements and amenities including ADA parking, a bus drop-off and turnaround, portable ADA restrooms in enclosures, picnic areas, a drinking fountain, benches, trash cans, and native plantings.

The newly completed project addressed the following improvement needs, which were identified in the 2004 Management Plan:

  • Access and circulation improvements including an accessible main trail through the park, bus drop-off and turnaround, and ADA parking
  • Park signage at park entry points, along with bicycle and vehicle parking
  • Invasive plant removal and replanting

The project also provided:

  • ADA parking
  • A bus drop-off and turnaround
  • Portable ADA restrooms in enclosures
  • Picnic areas
  • Nature exploration spots
  • Drinking fountain
  • Benches
  • Trash receptacles
  • Native plantings

“In 1965, I was 23 years old and started teaching math and science at nearby Columbia Elementary School,” notes Betty Campbell, formerly with the Columbia School’s Growth through Research, Organization and Work (GROW) Program. “When I first saw the 28 acres, I could see unlimited educational possibilities for it. For me, these improvements are a dream realized.”

Parks System Development Charges (SDC) funds, the primary funding source for this project, are not tax dollars. They are one-time fees assessed on new development and can only be used to expand the capacity of the park system (for example, new park developments), not maintenance. SDC funds help ensure that 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.

The Columbia Children’s Arboretum enhancement project included about $3.4 million in SDC funds.

For more information, please visit the project webpage: