Plans show 7.5 acres of playgrounds, new gardens and picnic areas off Division Street.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - PP&R used little white flags and the big number markers to show people where the planned features of the park will be laid out. The popular community garden plots (in background) will be part of the new park. Portland Parks & Recreation unveiled plans for a new 7.5-acre park at Southeast Division Street and 150th Avenue Wednesday evening at the site of the future green space, but threatening skies and cool weather kept a lot of community members away from the event.

Sherry Willmschen, who lives near the proposed park and among those who braved the weather, noted she is thrilled about the playgrounds and other amenities in the space.

RENDERING COURTESY PORTLAND PARKS AND REC - The latest plan for the park will go before the Portland City Council for approval on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The plans show a playground, soccer field, community gardens and other features. "The sooner, the better," she said.

Willmschen said she hopes the park is finished before her 2- and 4-year-old grandchildren are too old to enjoy the park.

She was questioning designer Tim Strand about the large soccer field planned for the center of the park.

"Is this an area where you could have concerts too?" she asked.

Strand, who works for Mayer/Reed Inc., explained that "the soccer field is designed to be a flexible, multi-purpose space."

At a community meeting regarding the park, local residents got to see how their many suggestions were worked into Portland Parks' plans for the recreation space. The agency held several community meetings and asked people what items and recreation opportunities they would like to see in the park.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Surya Joshi, who helped Portland Parks and Recreation reach out to the diverse population in the neighborhood, munches on a Vietamese roll at the open house for the planned park, now known only as D150. Plans include a small skate park, a splash pad for hot weather play, basketball court, picnic area with a shelter, playground and nature spot, an off-leash dog area, a pollinator garden with a path, restrooms, a large field for soccer and other activities, and community garden plots.

At Wednesday's gathering Portland parks put large, numbered markers to coincide with the park's features on a map. There were yummy Vietnamese rolls and children's activities, along with tours and plenty of people to answer questions.

PP&R does not yet have funding for this particular park, now referred to as D150, and may refine the master plan once funding is secured, PP&R said on its web page for the park. D150's master plan must be approved by the Portland City Council before moving forward.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Jaime Engligh, Portland Parks and Recreation project manager for D150, plants some banners to let neighbors know about the information night for the park Wednesday night, Sept. 21. "We go before the City Council on Nov. 8 and ask them to approve the plan. Then we start the conversations about the funding," said Jaime English, Portland Parks' project manager, adding there is no timeline for when work might get started nor a cost estimate.

D150 is a gently rolling site with views of Powell Butte. Portland Parks has owned the property since 2014. The neighbors in the single and multi-family housing surrounding the potential park speak Russian, Somali, Nepali and Spanish, as well as English.

Not wanting to let the undeveloped land go unused while they are planning D150, PP&R partnered with Outgrowing Hunger, which turned some of the D150 land into 80 community garden plots that are 450 square feet each. About three-quarters of the gardeners are refugees from Burma or Nepali-speaking Bhutanese. The community garden plots have been incorporated into the park plans.

"One thing we've heard is that this park has the potential to be a community heart," English said. "Families and people of all ages can come together here."

The yet-to-be named park should be a welcome addition to the eastern part of Portland, which has a general dearth of play and green spaces. The wide swath of Portland Parks territory between Interstate 205 and the Gresham and Fairview city lines tends to lack the wealth of outdoor spaces and activities programming in other sections of Portland.

The paucity, often called the play gap, is especially acute east of 122nd Avenue. It leaves lots of families — many of them low-income, ethnically diverse and living in apartments — with few places to get outdoors or for their children to play. PP&R found 40 percent of Portland's children live east of I-205.

The agency's target is to have a park within a half mile — or a 15 to 20 minute walk — of every household in the city. That target has been hit for 80 percent of Portland residents, but for only 61 percent of residents east of I-205, according to Portland Parks.

Just weeks earlier, parks officials gathered people at Lynchview Park to provide suggestions on how to develop the 7.6-acre park at Southeast 165th Avenue and Southeast Market Street, which abuts Patrick Lynch Elementary School.

The future Lynchview Park right now is just an expanse of grass with a few trees. Portland Parks, which has owned the Lynchview Park land since 1993, plans to build a playground along with other amenities. After gathering suggestions from the community, planning and securing permits, PP&R plans to begin construction on Lynchview Park in 2019. OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Sherry Willmschen, who lives in the neighborhood, discusses the features of the planned park at Southeast Division Street and Southeast 150th Avenue with Tim Strand, the park's planner.

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