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New Lighting Coming to Portland Parks

News Article
The Light Pole Safety project is nearly complete; work begins at Mt. Tabor Park
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Updated

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has completed the removal and replacement of light poles in eight of 11 parks across the city. of light poles across 11 city parks. The final three parks will be completed by the end of summer 2024 with work at Mt. Tabor Park beginning next week. Lighting in the final two parks, Lair Hill Park and Ladds Circle Park, will follow Mt. Tabor Park. PP&R will update thelight pole project website as needed.

The project to remove and replace poles is necessary as the older structures were up to a century old. 

Environmentally friendly with an eye on the skies
New light pole in Wallace Park on a beautiful day.
New light recently installed in Wallace Park.

The new LED lights are 66% more efficient than the bulbs they’re replacing. The fixtures will be Dark Sky-friendly and fully shielded to prevent skyward “spill.” Light will be directed toward park pathways, lessening the impact to 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 had additional lights installed to enhance brightness and visibility. And in other parks, fewer lights are required because the new ones offer better coverage than the ones that were removed. 

New lights are in place at these eight parks, in order of completion:

  • Colonel Summers Park 
  • Sellwood Riverfront Park
  • Irving Park 
  • Sellwood Park 
  • Montavilla Park 
  • Mt. Scott Park 
  • Wallace Park 
  • Woodstock Park
Mt. Tabor Park is next

Work at Mt. Tabor Park is expected to begin May 6, 2024. The park’s required Historic Resources Review has been completed, approved, and finalized. Depending on weather, materials, capacity, and other factors, it’s possible that work may continue into July, but every effort will be made to complete the work as quickly as possible. The contractor is looking into the possibility of installing temporary park lights during the project.

What to expect

During construction efforts, trucks and equipment may temporarily be on paved park paths or in some cases, the project may completely close off paths during work hours. Park visitors may need to move off the path or take a detour to avoid construction work and obstacles. Mt. Tabor Park will be darker than usual during construction.

Successful partnership

Through this effort, PP&R established a partnership with Portland General Electric and installed 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, simple, and cost-effective improvements using existing power poles in and around parks.

Funding and background

To ensure the replacement of the light poles as quickly as possible, Portland’s Vibrant Communities 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 Portland parks.

The project funding effort is an example of different government agencies working together to solve a problem that affects multiple jurisdictions. 

Metro approved 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. PP&R and Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan worked with Oregon’s federal delegation to secure additional federal earmarks for the project.

"We took extraordinary measures to partner with other jurisdictions to address an extraordinary project,” said Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan 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 years to fix will now take months."

For more information in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali, please visit the project webpage.

Please do not attach anything to park light poles. This is prohibited by Chapter 20 of the Portland City Code.

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