Portland State University students will work with the city on park expansion recommendation

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Portland State University graduate students Taka Shiegematsu, Nathan Williams, Jonathan Morales and Daniel Shor will work with the city of St. Helens and residents to develop a recommended park expansion for Columbia View Park. A fifth student who is not pictured, Paul Gagliardi, will also work with the group.Graduate students at Portland State University are working with the city of St. Helens to develop plans to build an expansion of Columbia View Park, which is included in the city's waterfront redevelopment framework plan.

Five students, all working to earn master's degrees in urban and regional planning, over the next four months will collect community feedback on what St. Helens residents want to see along the waterfront that could be encompassed in the Columbia View Park expansion.

Currently, Columbia View Park is used as an events and concert venue during the summer months. The park has a gazebo stage and several rows of amphitheater-like seating. A playground for children and a touch-activated splash pad are other park attractions.

Conversations about redesigning the park kicked off more than a year ago. Talks of relocating the gazebo to build a larger stage in the park were started in January 2016, but were quashed by some who viewed the gazebo sentimentally and others who were worried about unforeseen costs associated with building a new stage elsewhere in the limited space available.

Due to its location adjacent to the former Boise veneer plant property, city staff and council members considered expanding the park into the newly acquired Boise land, and sought help to flesh out possibilities from the PSU program.

Over the course of the project, the graduate students are expected to gather feedback from St. Helens residents and park users to assess site plans and bring the park expansion into focus.

At this point, no designs have been created for the park.

The project is a requirement for the PSU students to complete the PSU masters program.

An open house is scheduled Friday, March 17, from 6 to

8 p.m. at the St. Helens Council Chambers, 265 The


The graduate students are scheduled to give a short presentation explaining who they are and their role in the planning effort, but the evening will center primarily on gathering public comments and ideas, and will include a brief sketching activity.

"Community participation will be key to the success of this project," Jonathan Morales, one of the PSU students, said.

Written comments and feedback about the project can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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