With 'social distancing', you still can visit a Portland Park
With businesses and schools closed to help keep the COVID-19 coronavirus from spreading, and with the sunny spring days upon us, many Inner Southeast Portland residents have taken to visiting local city parks.
On March 26, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) management began restricting some use of parks – including locking the gates to parking lots at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Sellwood Park, and Sellwood Riverfront Park.
The locked gates didn't rule out people going to a park, however. Along S.E. Oaks Park Way, as many as 30 vehicles were illegally parked on the narrow shoulder – but people in Sellwood Riverfront Park appeared to be maintaining appropriate social distance from each other, which is the main concern of PP&R, we learn.
"The gate closures will continue until further notice; but these parks remain open to those walking, rolling, or strolling," confirmed Portland Parks and Recreation spokesperson Mark Ross.
Not at all closed was the parking lot in front of the Eastmoreland Golf Course, which on several occasions has been nearly filled with vehicles, as golfers were taking to the links. Although Eastmoreland's Clubhouse is closed, golfers were able to check in at the window on the north side of the building, at the driving range.
Ross outlined the changes now in effect at PP&R parks, including:
· Locking gates and removing nets at tennis courts, where needed
· Installing Closed barrier tape at playgrounds
· Locking and flipping over soccer field goalposts
· Turning off decorative fountains and splash pads
"Park Rangers are informing the public on safe physical distancing in high traffic areas, and addressing issues as they arise," Ross said.
"And, PP&R has redeployed some employees to park properties serving as 'Park Greeters'," he added. "While maintaining at least six feet of physical distance, Park Greeters educate the public about how to use their parks system safely, and to explain what facilities are open or closed.
"Park Greeters won't be in every park every day," Ross told THE BEE. "They rotate among parks, and will prioritize the parks where there have been issues with social distancing, or with using facilities inappropriately."
For updates about city park closures and other information, visit this PP&R webpage – www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/covid-19
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