History of Portland Park Rangers
The Portland Park Ranger program grew into its current form in 2012. At that time, Portland Parks and Recreation hired our first three full-time Rangers to take over security contracts in the downtown area. With the early success of the program permanent coverage was gradually expanded to Forest Park, Washington Park, and eventually all of Portland. As the program has matured and the Ranger team has continued to grow, it has proven invaluable at keeping parks safe and enjoyable. In 2022, Park Rangers responded to over 3,000 calls, resolved nearly 11,000 park rule violations, and required assistance from PPB or PF&R in only 2%
Why haven’t I ever seen a Ranger in the field?
Rangers patrol over 280 parks encompassing 12,000 acres, and with current staffing levels it is necessary for Rangers to roam from park to park often to ensure that all our public spaces receive attention. Unfortunately, this means that they often can’t spend much time patrolling in any one park. As the program grows and becomes more established, Parks expects to see more engagement between Rangers and the communities they serve.
How do Rangers address the homelessness crisis?
The role of Park Rangers is to address park rule violations and other issues in parks, not to solve homelessness. However, in their course of duty, Park Rangers regularly interact with people experiencing homelessness and are often called upon to resolve camping and behavioral problems. As such, Rangers are trained in de-escalation, first-aid, and trauma-informed communication to ensure that behavior and mental health crises in parks are dealt with safely and responsibly. In fact, Park Rangers write the most referrals for services of any city program.