Proposed park likely to liven up section of East Portland
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.
"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.
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.
"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 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.