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City tour highlights need for park funds

Cracks in a playground slide, corroded play structure platforms and restrooms partially sinking into unstable soil.

Those are just some of the features City Commissioner Amanda Fritz will show reporters on Thursday during a tour of the Kenton Park playground in North Portland and the Grant Pool in Northeast Portland.

Both sites are two of Portland Parks & Recreation's most visibly deteriorating facilities — tangible evidence of the need for a new parks maintenance bond, parks officials say.

A survey in late May showed that more than 65 percent of Portlanders supported a replacement bond to fund parks that would not increase tax rates and would pay for some of the most critical repairs to the park system.

A proposed replacement bond will be the topic of discussion at a June 30 town hall meeting. City Parks and Recreation officials will explain how the existing parks bond — approved in 1994 — will be paid off in 2015, and if it isn't replaced, structures will need to be removed without the funds to replace them.

In April, park officials had to remove the 40-year-old playground structure at Couch Park in Northwest Portland because it was unsafe. At the Kenton playground, a third of the structure has been removed due to safety issues. At Grant Pool, the city's most popular public pool (drawing around 80,000 visitors each summer), the filter and pump system is corroded and at risk of failure, which could require an emergency pool closure.

Without a replacement bond, the parks bureau will also not be able to offer the same level of service in parks and recreational areas citywide, according to officials.

Residents may ask questions and share their ideas at the town hall, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Cleveland High School cafeteria, 3400 S.E. 26th Ave.

For details go to http://www.portlandparks.org.