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City councilors settle on new name, reflective of Native Chinook tribe history

Scappoose has a newly named park under development.

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - A soon-to-be developed park near Seely Lane in Scappoose will be called Tomee Park. The recreational area, not far from the Creekside Apartments, will include bathrooms and a pavilion, as well as the shade of an old oak tree.

City councilors made the final decision Monday, April 2, to name a newly designated park space Tomee Park.

Tomee represents the princess daughter of native Chinook Chief Concomley, who later married Thomas McKay. McKay was the stepson of John McClaughlin of the Hudson Bay Company, city staff documents indicate.

The park, located at Seely Lane and Southwest 4th Street, adjacent to Veterans Park and South Scappoose Creek, is slated to get restrooms and a pavilion installed later this year.

Before the park was even named, councilors grappled with a hefty price tag for a pre-fabricated concrete restroom facility.

After the council settled on a $100,000 bathroom model, and a nearly $65,000 pavilion, city staff returned with a list of 26 names proposed by members of the public, with a shortlist narrowed down by the city's parks committee.

"The good news is you have a lot of really good choices," City Manager Michael Sykes told councilors. "Bad news is you gotta pick only one."

Among the names suggested by the public were Klip Sun Park (meaning sunset park), Chinook Park and Chinook Salmon Park, Koale Koa Park, Steelhead Park, Chief Concomley Park, Tillicum Park, Skookum Park, and Great Oak Park, to denote a large oak tree on the property. Most of the names proposed were homages to Native American culture and history, as the city encouraged suggested names to be "reflective of Chinook culture and language."

Prior to Monday's naming decision, the park was informally referred to by city staff and councilors as "Seely Park."

Great Oak Park was a favorite among the council, along with Tomee, Chinook, and Councilor Joel Haugen's top pick, Skookum Park, meaning "city park."

City staff said the oak tree on site was examined by an arborist who estimated the tree to be between 250 and 300 years old.

Councilor Megan Greisen said the name Oak Park or Great Oak Park could easily be confused with Oaks Park, a small amusement park in Portland.

Mayor Scott Burge said he favored the name Tomee Park "because it's honoring a connection in our history between settlers and the native peoples here," while honoring "a woman from our history."

Of the 26 choices presented to council, 10 of the top choices chosen by the public were whittled down in a staff report, with an even shorter list of the top three names selected by the parks committee.

Development of the new city park will be funded largely by an Oregon Parks and Recreation grant the city received in June 2017.

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