Departing commissioner Fritz celebrates parks projects
A lot of bad things happened in Portland in 2020, but a lot of good happened, too, including parks projects taking place around the city.
Outgoing Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said it's been a challenging year, but she celebrates several Portland Parks and Recreation projects that happened under her direction.
"The pandemic has made clear that our parks and recreation system is vital for all Portlanders' mental and physical health," said Fritz, who's also departing the City Council. "Like all PP&R work, these improvements are being made in partnership with neighbors, and I want everyone citywide to know about the progress being made. The projects will move us toward more equitable park access, meeting more Portlanders' needs as the city continues to grow and develop."
The projects are funded in part by the parks System Development Charges (SDCs), which are one-time fees assessed on new property development and not tax dollars from the general fund.
"Even during challenging times, Portland Parks and Recreation continues to improve our city's parks system and to make it more equitable for all," said PP&R Director Adena Long. "I thank PP&R staff for their continued dedication to caring for our parks, natural areas, trails and facilities. We are planning for the park system for this generation of Portlanders and the next, and the thoughtful distribution of SDC-funded projects across the city is vital to build the system Portland needs."
SDC parks projects by quadrant:
• Northeast Portland — Columbia Children's Arboretum, a project starting in late 2021 to increase accessibility and circulation; the 29-acre arboretum and Hoyt Arboretum are the two PP&R arboretums.
• Southeast Portland — Mill Park, developing a new neighborhood park at Southeast 117th Avenue and Mill Court, spring 2021. Kenilworth Park, new splash pad being constructed in early 2021.
• Southwest Portland — In Washington Park, a new entrance will be constructed for improved accessibility, targeted for summer 2022 completion. There'll also be native vegetation added, and stabilized hillside and improved staircases, landings and trails. For the Red Electric Trail project, work on the Hillsdale Bridge segment will start in 2021.
• North Portland/citywide — Nature patches for play, exploration and ecological health in parks; after three years of planning and constructions, nature patches have been enhanced at Alberta, Columbia, Fernhill, Gabriel, Hazeltine, Irving, Lents, Midland and Wilshire parks with boulders, logs and pathways for play and exploration and flowers and plants for pollinators. Land acquisitions have taken place, including next to Forest Park and parcels that will connect the North Portland Greenway between Cathedral Park and Baltimore Woods Natural Area and forested acreage with a stream to add to Terwilliger Parkway.
Meanwhile, improvements at Gateway Green have been completed, and the 25-acre park at the confluence of Interstate 205 and Interstate 84 has reopened.
The park includes new and unpaved trails (including gravity-oriented mountain bike trail), greater accessibility for cyclists of all abilities, restrooms, drinking fountains, habitat improvements, plantings and more. There are new, inclusive features to welcome cyclists of all skill levels and abilities (including an asphalt pump track nearly 600 feet long).
"Gateway Green will serve as the foundation for off-road cycling in Portland," said Juntu Oberg, president of the Northwest Trail Alliance.
"With this project, Gateway Green has become a regional destination for people on bike and on foot," said Long, the PP&R director. "The park will attract more families, riders of varying abilities and provide a welcome community gathering space when health conditions permit. We thank the Friends of Gateway Green, Metro and the NW Trail Alliance for their inspiring advocacy and their continued volunteer work."
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