The Gateway District has had one heck of a year when it comes to area improvements. And this Thanksgiving, there was an excess of dessert on the table.

On Nov. 21, Prosper Portland awarded the Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal Area four new community livability grants. Two of these grants are direct results of lobbying by Tom Badrick, a key local player who works on behalf of a host of neighborhood groups, including the Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors.

One grant is awarded to Friends of Floyd Light Park in the amount of $8,500 for the “conditional award for installation of a trash can and bench and informational kiosk at Floyd Light Park,” according to the Prosper Portland page. The second grant makes out two conditional awards of $69,000 and $8,500 for placemaking projects in South Gateway and placemaking amenities at Gateway Transit Center. This second grant was made out to “Gateway One,” referring to Gateway One EcoDistrict.

“The kiosk will be similar to the one at the Hazelwood HydroPark,” says Tom Badrick. “We went through public vetting. Every one of the kiosks will have the name of the place where they’re located, but they’ll say Gateway Regional Center on them, as well.”

Badrick believes the benches and trashcans will be unveiled for public use this winter. “The issue is how fast do I get the contract, so I can order things? We’re not talking [just going to] Home Depot for the wood. It’s hard to make a timeline right now, but I’m working to get everything ordered. The kiosk is done by a local artist, and he can whip those out pretty quick. I’m hoping to see things on the ground by the end of the year. Once I get the contract, I’ll place the order for the trashcans.”

Prosper Portland, according to Badrick, has been hesitant about ordering all the trashcans at once, a move that could save the group shipping costs.

The two additional grants are made out to Our Giving Table and Impact NW, respectively. The former is $25,000 and a conditional award of $121,240 for constructing a community kitchen in the Gateway Town Center. This means the Gateway Town Center can distribute an additional 1,500 meals per month to the underprivileged. The latter leaves Impact NW with $25,000 to update the façade of the MakerSpace and warehouse at the Dancing Tree Family Center.

As previously reported, Friends of Gateway Green and Propel Studio are closing in on an immediate wayfinding project to install temporary signs to help people find the new mountain-bike park at Gateway Green. This project is funded by a $5,000 PeopleForBikes grant, which was awarded Oct. 2 (“Friends of Gateway Green scores grant,” MCM Nov. 2017).

However, the most recent upshot of the rebranding portion of Friends of Gateway Green’s “wayfinding and rebranding” plans is that wayfinding will take center stage. The first round of signage is set to debut shortly.

“The final drawing images are being sent off to the manufacturer right now,” says Badrick. “There is a stencil at Propel Studio right now, and it will be two to three weeks before we have the signs. We don’t have a hard plan [for implementation], but we’d like to get them up by Christmas.”

Rebranding initiatives will not be so immediate. Up until this month, the plan was to implement signage displaying the diversity of cultural identities within the Gateway area. Arlene Kimura, a Gladys McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, was thought to be leading the project. Now, it’s uncertain what the rebranding project will look like, at least as far as cultural diversity is concerned.

“We really need to spend the time to do branding well, really engaging the whole community,” says Badrick. “You can do a lot of wayfinding without the branding, and you’ll see a lot of activity in the next year. There are a couple suggestions that have been submitted to Prosper Portland, but I think the biggest weakness we have in Gateway is not a lack of money or resources but a lack of a shared vision for the future of Gateway. This really needs to be an organic thing the residents of the community embrace, not something the community does to them.”

Though he was instrumental in the formation of cultural diversity as a mainstay behind the rebranding process, he believes his part should be minimal. He would prefer that a committee be set up to discuss how best to showcase the diversity.

“I would hope that we are making significant progess in spring,” he says, “[and] that there is a committee being selected and talking about hiring consultants. I’d like to see people struggle with it and come up with better answers.”

Read more about Prosper Portland’s latest grants at