(Portland, OR) –
Portland Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan secured City Council approval today for a construction contract with Raimore Construction, LLC for the Mill Park project.
Mill Park, a 6.2-acre site located at SE 117th Avenue and Lincoln Street in East Portland, is currently an open grassy area with no amenities beyond some mature trees, a park sign, and a bench. The development of Mill Park will include a playground, fountain, new Portland Community Garden, picnic shelter and tables, chin lone*/volleyball court, Portland Loo, fitness area, paved paths including a central promenade, public art, and other park amenities.
“This is a huge win for East Portland and for the Mill Park community,” says Commissioner Ryan. “The park will greatly enhance one of Portland’s most diverse neighborhoods – an area with one of the city’s highest concentrations of underserved community members. And on top of that, the project will be completed by a local company. It’s a win-win.”
Raimore Construction, the firm that won the contract, is a Portland-based minority-owned general contractor. Over 80% of Raimore staff, including all supervisory and management personnel, are people of color.
“It is a delight to see this project, years in the making, really gain steam,” says Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Director Adena Long. “Mill Park will be a wonderful community centerpiece and a beloved destination for the neighborhood – and in particular, for the adjacent school.”
Mill Park Elementary School, next door to the park, has 475 students. Approximately 77.5% of students identify as people of color and/or Native/Indigenous, and 48% are enrolled as English as Second Language learners. About 68% qualify for free/reduced lunch.
Commissioner Ryan has added an additional $2.8 million in system development charge (SDC) fees to the project budget in order to ensure the full project can be constructed. This was necessary, given the ongoing impact of inflation, supply chain, and labor issues across the construction industry. The project’s total budget is $13.22 million.
The 2017 Mill and Midland Parks Combined Master Plan was completed after an extensive community engagement process with an intentional focus on engaging underserved communities in the area. Approved by City Council on November 8, 2017, at a Council meeting held at David Douglas High School, the plan delivers on the City of Portland's pledge to enhance parks in East Portland.
In April 2021, Commissioner Carmen Rubio announced $10.4 million in SDC funds from construction fees (not tax dollars) to advance the Mill Park project. Commissioner Rubio allocated $1.6 million in SDCs for PP&R to purchase a 22,000 square-foot property adjacent to the park; allowing space to build a new park entry from SE 122nd Avenue and to increase the total open space provided by the future Mill Park to approximately 6.2 acres. This property has been incorporated into the final design for Mill Park.
*Chin lone is a game popular in Southeast Asian communities. It uses a volleyball net and a wicker ball. Players can only use their head or feet, no hands, to move the ball back and forth over the net.