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Gabriel Park will be the latest Portland park to see new all-abilities playground

COURTESY PHOTO - Here's a rendering of the new Gabriel Park inclusive playground.Southwest Portland's Gabriel Park will soon see a major facelift.

Thanks to a $4.3 million parks upgrade project, construction is under way on an expansive new, inclusive playground.

Portland Parks & Recreation announced pending construction on the new playground that will be three times the size of the park's current play area. The park at the intersection of Southwest 37th Avenue and Southwest Vermont Street will include a trampoline that allows users to wheel or walk to the feature; interactive sensory panels; a climbing wall; interactive music and water play features; a spinner; new swings; and two accessible slides — one low, wide slide that can accommodate two people side-by-side and one tall tube slide with transfer platforms at the top and bottom for mobility device users.

Park visitors can also enjoy a picnic area and bike racks. The upgrades will include accessible paths to all play features. Bathrooms on site will also be upgraded.

Aside from the new installations, park visitors will also see the addition of 37 newly planted trees.

Each of the park upgrades will be accessible to people of all abilities, Portland Parks officials said.

"Portland Parks & Recreation remains committed to centering equity in the delivery of our programs and services," PP&R Director Adena Long said. "The inclusive features of the new Gabriel Park playground mean fewer barriers for Portlanders to access the recreation and play opportunities that we all need now more than ever. This playground will be a place of exploration and connection, and one all Portlanders will be proud of."

COURTESY PHOTO: PORTLAND PARKS & RECREATION - A photo of the playground at Gabriel Park slated to be replaced with all new play equipment accessible to all users.The project is being funded by system development charges (SDCs) and a 2014 parks replacement bond, as well as a small chunk of funds from an Americans with Disabilities Act program. The $4.3 million project cost includes permitting, equipment, labor, outreach and project contingencies, Mark Ross, public information officer for the city's parks bureau, said.

"Inclusive playgrounds are a crucial part of building a sustainable Portland Parks & Recreation," said City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who now oversees Portland Parks. "No child should be deprived a rich play experience, addressing physical, sensory and social needs, just because a playground was inaccessible. The Gabriel Park play area will be a civic treasure because it reflects our commitment to an inclusive park system that can meet both Portland's current and future needs."

Construction on the new play area takes place this month, with a targeted completion of late 2021 or early 2022.

Other inclusive playgrounds in Portland include: Arbor Lodge Park (Harper's Playground), Couch Park, and Gateway Discovery Park. Anna & Abby's Yard in Forest Grove is also an inclusive playground.

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