The longtime promise by Portland Parks & Recreation to "Create a new Errol Heights Park" began to be fulfilled, as construction got underway late in April with chain-link fencing set up around the park's perimeter.
The original Master Plan — for turning around what once was an unauthorized dump into a park with amenities — was approved in 2005. At the sixth and final Errol Heights Park Project Community Advisory Committee meeting held back on November 14, 2018; followed by an open house on December 1, 2018 — that revised Master Plan was finalized.
At the 2018 open house, PP&R Landscape Architect/ Project Manager George Lozovoy told THE BEE that the most challenging part would be Land Use Planning for the natural area; because it is an Environmental Zone — delineated as a wetland.
"It will take some time to redo the wetland designation, working with the Oregon Department of State Lands and the US Army Corps of Engineers to obtain permits to do some of the trail improvements in that area," Lozovoy reflected. Well, it certainly did take some time, but the project is now underway. But don't expect to see instant improvements; it's a year-and-a-half project, pointed out PP&R Capital Expansion Program Manager Ross Swanson.
It's going to take time to improve this 16-acre park, while protecting and restoring the lower natural wetland and riparian areas. They'll use existing trails, upgraded, to provide ADA access; and they'll create new play and picnic areas on the upper plateau.
"This is a full rehabilitation of a pretty big park," acknowledged Swanson. "It includes creating more traditionally-built park amenities in the upper area — like a playground and a skate spot. Those will be almost 'a project' in themselves," Swanson remarked. "And, in the lower area, we'll be doing some habitat enhancements, and trail work for better accessibility. And overlooks will also be a major project. But, when it's completed, it'll be a much improved park!"
Unfortunately for the next 18 to 24 months the park will be closed for construction, Swanson said. "We understand this is a long time, and we ask people be patient, and to stay out of the area during construction."
By the way, the Errol Heights Community Garden will remain open, and the contractors will be working to provide access to gardening spaces.
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