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Park Place Neighborhood Association celebrates $95,450 in grants for new equipment

An Oregon City play structure that had been targeted by an arsonist in 2017 has received $95,450 in funding for a replacement, half from the city and half from a Metro grant.

PHOTO COURTESY: OC PARKS - A rendering of the proposed playground replacement at Park Place Park may have slight alterations to the design as Oregon City continues through its planning process.Neighborhood volunteers are performing Park Place Park cleanups and expect to hold a ribbon cutting event at the completion of the project in June 2020.

Park Place Neighborhood Association Vice Chair Steve VanHaverbeke noted it's the only park within the neighborhood, which is comprised of over 5,000 residents, a number expected to grow with infill developments. Despite the damage to the park structures, VanHaverbeke said, "It is utilized by young families who visit with their children, and for the past two-plus years, the equipment has been an eyesore due to the damage."

Oregon City police investigating the intentional burning of the play structure identified a 14-year-old boy as the suspect. He was taken into custody and lodged on one count of second-degree arson and one count of first-degree criminal mischief. Both are felonies. Police believe the 14-year-old acted alone.

According to police, the fire bears similarity to the April 2017 arson case at the 18.5-acre park at 16180 Front Ave. That blaze may have been related to two similar fires that occurred in March 2017 in a nearby new housing development on Samson Place.

Oregon City School District officials closed Park Place Elementary in 2010, and the building is now being leased from the district by the Alliance Charter Academy.

Metro's contribution to the Park Place Park playground reconstruction project came through an intergovernmental agreement between Oregon City and the regional government. A $1-per-ton surcharge at the Metro South Transfer Station on Washington Street collected $350,000 for grants in 2019.

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