By MARK ROSS, PORTLAND PARKS and RECREATION PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Championed by Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish, the E205 Initiative improves existing Parks parks and facilities in the area east of Interstate 205, which does not yet have the rich tradition of parks and recreational places seen elsewhere in the Rose City.
E205 is a series of projects at 12 east Portland parks and included adding new amenities that make an immediate impact, such as new playgrounds, park benches, new soft-surface trails, fenced dog off-leash areas, new and refurbished playground equipment, and adding new water fountains.
Parks and its partners also invested in special projects such as a bicycle pump track at Ventura Park and a new community garden at Ed Benedict Park.
“The E205 Initiative is a tremendous first step in meeting our commitments to east Portland,” says City Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. “By maximizing the impact of the limited money available, we’ve quickly improved the quality of parks in east Portland. We are seeing a big impact through E205’s relatively small changes.”
Commissioner Fish says the city made a promise to east Portland, and kept that promise.
“One in five Portland families doesn’t have ready access to a park or natural area,” Fish said. “The City proudly made the E205 Initiative a priority. And now the E205 projects have given east Portland more safe places for kids, and affordable community anchors for neighborhoods.”
“A healthy community needs parks and every child deserves a place to play,” adds Nick Hardigg, Executive Director of the Portland Parks Foundation. “It was gratifying to raise funds and awareness for this issue.”
E205 Initiative improvements, by park, alphabetically:
Argay Park — N.E. 141st Avenue and Failing Street
Portland Parks installed a new drinking fountain near the dog off-leash area, as well as three new park benches for two-legged visitors.
Cherry Park — S.E. 110th Avenue and Stephens Street
Parks installed a soft–surface path and two new park benches at Cherry Park.
East Portland Community Center and Pool — 740 S.E. 106th Ave.
Portland Parks built a new playground at the popular community center, featuring play equipment for children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old. East Portland Community Center has the most visitors of any Parks community centers city-wide. New, super cool play structures are in place with names like the Mountaineer. Park goers will fine a six-seat swing, synchro-spinners, a climbing wall and spring toys which are fully fenced in for safety. Many portions of the new play equipment were constructed with environmentally responsible recycled materials such as milk jugs and scrap steel. Play features are designed with physical and social development in mind, and comply with all safety and accessibility standards.
East Holladay Park — 12999 N.E. Holladay Street
Portland Parks built a sparkling new, soft-surface playground at the neighborhood park. It features play equipment for children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old. Features include a giant ladybug climbing shell, slide, a six-seat swing and infant swings, climbing structures, and a jungle gym. Elements bring to mind a rainbow, or perhaps the dramatic beauty of a peacock tail, with plenty of space to run and play.
Ed Benedict Park — S.E. 100th Avenue and Powell Blvd.
Portland Parks installed the new, 40-plot Ed Benedict Community Garden (SE 104th and Bush), plus a new drinking fountain near the skate park plaza. The Ed Benedict Community Garden helped Portland Parks & Recreation realize the 1,000 Gardens Initiative of a thousand new community garden plots by 2012.
Glenfair Park — N.E. 154th Avenue and Davis Street
Portland Parks crews installed a soft surface trail and two new park benches, plus picnic tables with concrete pads. Through the E205 Initiative, park-goers can now enjoy a picnic while watching sports activities on the adjacent ballfield.
Gilbert Primary Park — S.E. 134th Avenue and Foster Rd.
Portland Parks and Recreation workers installed trail distance markers to keep track of your physical activity on a new, half-mile soft surface trail. Park-goers can now also enjoy bright new park signs, benches, reconstructed fences, and a resurfaced playground. The adjacent elementary school and the larger community both benefit from the new amenities.
Lynchwood Park — S.E. 170th Avenue and Haig Street
The park was once without a formal pathway system, along with other park amenities. Through the E205 Initiative, Lynchwood Park now has soft-surface walking and jogging paths to help provide access and visibility into the park, addressing neighborhood identified concerns. A fenced dog off-leash area, bright new signage, new park benches and a drinking fountain are also in place.
Midland Park — S.E. 122nd Avenue and Morrison Street
Midland Park will have both additional and improved lighting on its west side. Park benches will be replaced and installed closer to brightly-lit areas. The park will enjoy additional plants that are known to attract birds and butterflies. The fencing will be cleaned and shored up, and a new gate installed that can be secured by volunteers only when the park is closed. Parks crews plan to have this final E205 Initiative project completed this spring.
Parklane Park — S.E. 155th Avenue and Main Street
A neighborhood picnic and celebration, complete with a Parks Summer Free for All Movie in the Park, marked the improvements to Parklane Park. Amenities include both new and refurbished picnic tables and benches, two new drinking fountains, a new playground, concrete pathway, and refurbished playground equipment in response to community and neighborhood input.
Ventura Park — S.E. 115th Avenue and Stark Street
Portland Parks, in partnership with the NW Trail Alliance, has installed a pair of circular off-road bicycle tracks known as pump tracks. Gravel pathways, kiosk signage, and additional plantings and landscaping are also in place as part of this unique, community driven project.
West Powellhurst Park — S.E. 115th Avenue and Division Street
Four new park benches now grace West Powellhurst Park, along with an improved surface to the walking/jogging path that makes the trail ADA-accessible. The path is designed for use in all of Portland’s seasons.
About the E205 Initiative:
The City of Portland has an unwavering commitment to areas east of I-205. Seventy-five percent of Portlanders enjoy access to a park or natural area within a fifteen-minute walk of their home.
Many of the parks provide a variety of amenities from sports fields and playgrounds to pathways and picnic areas. When looking at the park system east of I-205, we see a different picture. Incorporated later into the Portland, Mid-Multnomah County does not have the rich tradition of parks and recreational places.
Yet, east Portland has experienced population growth and now 40 percent of families with children are living in this area. Demand for equitable recreational services is high. New parks can cost in the tens of millions and Portland Parks & Recreation is looking toward a bond measure in the future to address these service gaps.
In the meantime, the E205 Initiative has added to the amenities in existing parks.
Smaller, affordable basic improvements can make a big difference to a community.
Designed to make minor improvements (under $250,000 per site) such as a community gardens, trails or playgrounds, E205 leveraged city dollars with private dollars to complete projects in east Portland as an ongoing commitment to the area.
The City Council unanimously allocated $500,000 towards immediate improvements for existing east Portland parks; the Portland Parks Foundation worked with private individuals, businesses, and foundations to add to the city’s dedicated funding. Project cost or total allocation per park is $250,000.
Park and Project Selection Criteria
• Park has identified service delivery gap
• Park has identified community support
• Project has broad appeal to a wide range of community members
• Project leverages other funding, partnerships, or in-kind materials and services
• Project with no significant site preparation or permitting issues that can be built or under construction within 18 months
• Project cost or total allocation per park is $250,000.
For more information, call 503-823-5300 or click here.
Special thanks to:
City Council and Commissioners
The Portland Parks Foundation
East Portland Residents and Neighborhood Advocates
The Portland Development Commission
East Multnomah Soil & Water District
Portland Parks & Recreation Staff