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Metro and the city of Gresham's nature park master plan to be finalized in fall

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Gabbert Butte Nature Parks master plan will be completed in the fall. This graphic showcases the existing trails and points of interest. Gresham City Council provided feedback on the current Gabbert Butte Nature Park master plan during a meeting Tuesday afternoon, April 10 — building upon suggestions already made by community members.

The park, which includes land owned by Metro regional government and the city of Gresham, is expected to complete its planning stage in the fall.

Gabbert Butte is a 150-acre natural space between Southwest Regner Road, Southwest Butler Road and Southwest Towle Avenue. There are already 1.5 miles of trails on the butte, with connections to nearby neighborhoods and the Gresham Butte Saddle Trail. The $1.8 million project is being funded through Metro voter bonds passed in 1995 and 2006.

The upgrades to the park will protect water quality and wildlife, improve the trail network with more connections and routes, and improve the visitor experience with an enhanced entryway.

"I am pleased to see this plan," said Councilor David Widmark.

One of the main decisions being made through input is the design of the park entry. Found at the intersection of Regner and Southeast 29th Street, the entry will have a parking lot, meadow area, accessible trail, wetlands and picnic space.

"Most of the feedback has preferred the parking lot to be closer to the street," said Tina Osterink, Gresham's natural resources planner. "They also ask for a large meadow area that allows for play."

Of the three design alternatives for the entry, the most popular has followed community input, with large open space and hidden parking lot. The Gresham Councilors also agreed with that sentiment. Based on examples of other local parks, the planners want to have 20 spots available in the lot. One concern raised by the council was overflow parking along Regner.

"I would anticipate this project to have less of a parking demand than Hogan Butte (Nature Park)," said Steve Fancher, director of Environmental Services.

In addition, the plan is for the parking lot to be gated, preventing people from accessing it after hours. It should also support the construction of some sidewalks nearby the park entry, filling the gaps on Regner Road.

Other community suggestions have been for signs in multiple languages, park rangers, water stations, restrooms at the trail heads, and trail markers with mileage listed.

The planners behind Gabbert Butte Nature Park want further input from the community. Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPGWJVT to guide the plan.

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