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Board members: We urge the NCPRD Advisory Council, commissioners to commit funds

Milwaukie Bay Park is an asset to the city of Milwaukie, Clackamas County and the whole Metro region, but remains unfinished. The original 2006 plans for MBP had to be phased due to cost, and the community has been waiting since 2015 for the final phase to be built. Now, some people are questioning the longstanding commitment of Clackamas County and the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District to finish the project.PMG FILE PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Geese in Milwaukie Bay Park are friendly to humans and will swim up requesting to be fed while being photographed.

It is a fallacy to believe that MBP without Phase 3 development will serve everyone in the community, as much of this park is inaccessible to citizens with disabilities due to the steep, sloping nature of the land. Moreover, the community has been waiting for play areas, picnic areas and the amphitheater since that 2006 plan – plans that seemed to be moving forward with the big public engagement design process in 2018-2019. Costs continue to go up, and the time is now for the county commissioners to dedicate their share of the funds to bring MBP to completion.

MBP is directly located on the Willamette River and on the Trolley Trail route that connects to the Springwater Corridor Trail and beyond. This is a crucial hub area not only for the city of Milwaukie, but the whole region and deserves to be funded and completed. A prior county official called MBP "the gateway to Clackamas County." Features to be added in Phase 3 support play and usability for all people of all ages and are crucial to meet climate goals. Phase 3 will support adaptive planning, including the installation of shading structures and tree canopy to lower temperatures due to the urban heat-island effect. Phase 3 installation of trees and shrubs is also critical for the Willamette flyway area and creating habitat for non-humans that also utilize this space. PMG FILE PHOTO: SAM STITES - More than 500 people lined the hill in Milwaukie Bay Park in June 2020 for a sit-in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

The city of Milwaukie and the NCPRD have long been coordinating the development of MBP, and the city has invested significant resources into the completion of this park. Originally, the city bought various parcels to create the park over numerous years. MBP design work, fundraising efforts and construction of the first two phases were funded in part by the city of Milwaukie in partnership with NCPRD, and many of the grants used in funding these phases were matched with city of Milwaukie funds. The third phase of construction of MBP is supported by Milwaukie and its residents that have contributed over $3 million in general fund dollars, SDCs and Metro greenspace bond funds to this effort. 

In addition, the Milwaukie Parks Foundation has already raised $50,000 for Milwaukie Bay Park and has planned other capital campaigns this spring.  

Again, this is a regional park that is utilized by many people from far beyond Milwaukie's borders, and it deserves to be completed to serve the broader community. We urge the NCPRD Advisory Council and the Board of County Commissioners to commit the county's share of the park funds in accordance with the draft intergovernmental agreement with the city of Milwaukie.

This letter is signed by Milwaukie Parks Foundation Board members Lisa Gunion-Rinker, president; Emily Gilchrist, vice president; Alejandra Gonzalez, treasurer; Alison Perkins, secretary; and directors Lisa Lashbrook, Lisa Batey and Virginia Pai.

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