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OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Seventy-one percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to volunteer to clean and maintain Nadaka Nature Park. Here, Theresa Tschirky of Gresham removes invasive ivy from a wooded area of the park during spring Green and Clean effort. A report compiled from the 2015 Nadaka Community Survey produced illuminating findings about who uses the Gresham greenspaces, and how.


The survey was conducted in and around Nadaka last summer, with the goals of creating a clearer image of general attitudes towards the park, and why people might support parks with their time and money. It was also a chance to provide service learning and employment opportunities for the surveyors.

“I think the interesting one is that the percentage of people using the park are from the neighborhood and tend to be more diverse that what the census blocks suggests in that area,” said Jim Labbe, author of the report, which was shared with the Outlook as a draft.

Monica McAlister, Nadaka’s nature park coordinator, is using the results of the survey to develop culturally specific events and programming, like an upcoming bird walk designed for Russian speakers. The park already offers bilingual programming and translation service, and events like the widely-anticipated Nadaka community festival on Aug. 20.

“We’re trying to serve a community,” McAlister said.

Looking ahead, future park management can use the survey as a “baseline” to understand how Nadaka has progressed in the goals of serving the community’s full diversity, Labbe said.

Although the cities of Gresham, Wood Village and Fairview have no publicly-funded recreation programs, 69 percent of those interviewed in Nadaka reported they would pay $2.50 monthly to support park services.

Additionally, 71 percent of respondents said they would volunteer for two hours a month. Another 33 percent said they were interested in employment opportunities in parks.

Also in the survey was the question of improvements people who use the park would like to see. Labbe said there are plans to install a swingset, as well as environmental and bird identification signage in three languages.

“Those came directly from the survey,” Labbe noted.

While the property on which Nadaka stands is owned by the city of Gresham, the park space was brought to life by a variety of community groups, businesses and nonprofits. These organizations led cleanups, raised capital through Metro regional government’s neighborhood grants program and commissioned studies on park access.

Labbe explained why it took a year for the survey results to be released.

“It’s coming out a year later because it’s done by nonprofits,” he said. “A lot of the work is done by volunteers.”

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