This new park was established, then closed for upgrading; and now it's officially open again

DAVID F. ASHTON   - With a little help from PP&R Program Coordinator Eric Rosewall, Dick Hazeltine cut the ribbon, dedicating Hazeltine Park. Since the project began early last summer, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) crews, contractors, and scores of volunteers have been upgrading the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood's Hazeltine Park, on S.E. Flavel Drive at 54th Avenue.

In addition to reallocating boulders, cutting down rotting trees, and installing paths, the improvements were centered around installing a "Nature Patch" to the park – which is named after Errol Heights and Brentwood-Darlington honored resident Dick Hazeltine.

"I think this looks great! I approve, and really – this park now looks very welcoming," Hazeltine remarked, as he chatted with THE BEE at the park's dedication on the cold and misty morning of December 1.

"It's true that not a lot of people who are still around to see it have a park named after them; so this means a lot to me, and I'm very gratified by it," Hazeltine said thoughtfully. "A lot of people put in effort to get and keep this park; now it's for the benefit of all of our neighbors. Although I'd still really like to see some playground equipment here, even just a swing-set."

Knowing that, in minutes, the park would be officially open, Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association Chair Chelsea Powers smiled and said, "I think this is an awesome upgrade to Hazeltine Park; Dick is the unofficial founder of our neighborhood association, and he and his wife Opal worked very hard to get this park on the map."

PP&R Program Coordinator Eric Rosewall thanked neighbors, Hazeltine family members, and the volunteers who came out to help complete the planting. He commented that the project was completed by volunteers who put in some thirty-five varieties of Pacific Northwest and native Northwest plants, "which will be great for bees, birds, butterflies, and herbivores." Rosewall observed that this is only one of three "Nature Spots" in the city.

In addition, Rosewall announced that family members were planting a flowering "Chocolate Mimosa" (Albizia julibrissin 'Chocolate') in honor of Opal Hazeltine, who passed away on June 13th, not long before the project was completed.

In his remarks, Dick Hazeltine reminded that the process of making this land into a city park started in 2007. As he spoke, he reminded spectators that the park's 'nature spot' is situated just where the Opal's desk was for eight years, inside a Community Policing Station that was subsequently closed and torn down.

Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, longtime neighbor and friend Malcolm Hancock stepped up and announced, "Because Dick always wanted a full-fledged park here, including playground equipment – and that part hasn't yet happened – here's memento of what we hope will be coming," and he presented Hazeltine with a miniature model of a swing set.

With a snip of the ribbon, and to the cheers of about eighty well-wishers, Hazeltine Park was dedicated, and is now officially open on S.E. Flavel Drive, just east of 52nd Avenue.

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