For years, Ardenwald neighbors have been trying to launch their own park; it may be getting nearer to happening

DAVID F. ASHTON - Volunteers helping out at this years Balfour Park Plant Sale included Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair Lisa Gunion-Rinker, left, and Board Member Chris Holle-Bailey. One of the things that make the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association (A/JCNA) unique is that its boundaries straddle two cities – Portland and Milwaukie – as well as two counties, Multnomah and Clackamas.

A/JCNA neighbors have adapted to working with all four jurisdictions to get things done, including trying to establish an official Belfour Park, on the City of Milwaukie side of the boundary. Without funding, volunteers have held plant sales each year to raise money to move the project forward.

At their most recent plant sale, held at two homes on S.E. Balfour Street on a Sunday, earlier this summer, brisk sales added to their project's coffers – to bring the total so far to about $12,000, according to A/JCNA Land Use Chair Lisa Gunion-Rinker, who is one of the annual sale's organizers.

"As you'll recall, the Balfour Park Master Plan is in place; but it will soon be reopened and reevaluated, because it was completed in 2015, and now – six years later – we have a lot of new neighbors in the area," Gunion-Rinker told THE BEE, as she ducked under a canopy during a spring shower.

A sprinkle didn't stop shoppers from browsing among, and purchasing, the many native plants, grasses, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs, and veggie starts that were on sale.

"And, the big news is that our Oregon State Representatives have found funding for a few parks in the area," Gunion-Rinker said. "But, we won't know if this funding will happen for Balfour Park for a while yet."

After revising the park's Master Plan, they'll go into construction planning and permitting; these stalwart volunteers are hoping the new park will finally be developed in 2023.

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