State donates $100,000 to develop Cully Park
Gov. Kate Brown took people by surprise when she signed a $100,000 check toward the future of Thomas Cully Park in the Cully neighborhood of Northeast Portland on Monday.
"I think the park really reflects our values as Oregonians and our vision for Oregon, and how to revitalize our communities," Brown said.
The first phase of the park project that sits on a former landfill is pegged to cost $10.6 million. It will include a playground, community garden, soccer field and Inter-Tribal Gathering Garden. On the last leg of fundraising, organizers jumpstarted a $1 million campaign earlier this year to meet the total goal.
The rest of the funding has come from a variety of public and private donations from more than 40 sources.
"Some of these funders don't typically build parks, but recognize that we're doing something a little different here and if we do it right and do it well, we can have an impact beyond the project," said Alan Hipolito, executive director of Verde, the nonprofit organization that's constructing the park.
Splitting the $1 million gap in half, the Portland Parks Foundation and Verde tasked themselves with raising $500,000 each. The Portland Parks Foundation so far has raised $113,000 in its campaign. The Portland Timbers and Thorns together donated $65,000 in February.
A number of other government representatives visited the site Monday for Brown's visit, including people from Metro, the Port of Portland, Portland Development Commission, Multnomah County, city commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz, Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbate, and others.
The Thomas Cully Park site at Northeast 72nd Avenue has been planned for development by the city since 2002. The site was used as a sand and gravel quarry from the 1950s to the 1980s, and then a landfill accepting mostly construction waste from 1980 to 1991.
The project is part of a larger effort to revitalize the Cully neighborhood, called Living Cully, a collaboration started in 2010 by several nonprofit agencies focused on equity, diversity and an anti-poverty strategy. The Cully neighborhood is considered an underserved community, where 45 percent of residents are low-income.
"We want Oregon to be a place where all of our families can thrive, and thriving is making sure that we have parks for our children and our families to play in, green spaces (and) open spaces for our kids to run in," Brown said.
Jeff Anderson, executive director of Portland Parks Foundation, said, "It's just an element in creating a neighborhood that says to people that you matter enough for us, to the community, to invest in a truly great space."