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Another $150,000 needed to develop Northeast community park by early October; donors, corporations and sports franchises are eyes for help

COURTESY: NAIM HASAN PHOTOGRAPHY - Construction has already taken place at Cully Park, but Portland Parks Foundation wants to put on another funding push to finish the full design. A foundation anniversary party/fundraiser will be Sept. 24 at Peninsula Park.Imagine a former landfill in the middle of the city.

Now imagine that space transformed into a beautiful 25-acre park, with features for kids, families, seniors, dog walkers and gardeners alike.

The Portland Parks Foundation — which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year — is looking to the public to help with the final push of fundraising to help make Cully Park's full design become a reality. A 15th anniversary celebration will take place Sept. 24 at Peninsula Park.

Project partners have raised $11.3 million for the Portland Parks & Recreation site since 2012, but there's still a funding gap.

They have recently lent support to Verde, the Cully-based nonprofit that is spearheading the boots-on-the-ground work to secure the last $150,000 by early October.

"We've been working with (the foundation) for a year to develop new sources for the park, including individual donors, corporations and sports franchises," says Alan Hipolito, executive director of Verde.

The foundation helped secure a $60,000 donation for the park from the Portland Timbers, and "is a very important partner for all the neighborhoods in Portland that have parks, need parks and need improvements," Hipolito says.

So far in the first phase of construction, crews have brought in 50,000 cubic yards of clean fill to level the site.

They've laid utilities and the beginnings of a trail network. They've built the foundation of a playground, raised the trellis, outlined the parking lot and built the foundation for the scenic overlooks on the north slope, which will have sweeping views of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens and the Columbia Gorge.

Each of the park's features was designed with the help of the community, through an extensive engagement process.

When complete, the park will include an off-leash dog area; play area, trails, fitness course, habitat restoration, picnic areas, a youth soccer field and a Native Gathering Garden.

The park will provide natural area access to 405 primarily low-income households.

Cully Park is hardly the foundation's only effort — the foundation is engaged in at least half a dozen initiatives across town, from Brooklyn Park to the South Park Blocks.

One of its other major projects is the Footbridge over Burnside effort, to close the dangerous gap of the 30-mile Wildwood Trail across West Burnside Street.

Currently, walkers, hikers and runners have to dart across busy traffic; when the 180-foot footbridge is built next year, it will provide safe passage.

The foundation is still raising money for that project.

Finally, if you've been to a free summer movie or concert in the park this year, it was part of Portland Parks & Recreation's Summer Free For All effort, which also funded free summer lunches for kids, playground activities and swimming lessons. The foundation does some coordinated fundrasing for those efforts.

Like a teenager, the foundation is just coming into its own — and needs you to continue thriving.

• Help Cully Park meet its fundraising goal by donating here: www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/let-us-build-cully-park

For more: www.portlandpf.org.

@jenmomanderson

Contract Publishing

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