|Farmland to become parkland
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Since the master planning process is nearly a year away, and even though neither PP&R representative at the meeting will be the person designated to oversee the parks master planning process, both Whitcomb and Brenner have the planning experience necessary to give the people attending a good overview of the entire process from start to finish.
Whitcomb said the reason for holding the meeting was to dispel the many rumors swirling in the community about what PP&R was going to do with the site. The bureau felt it would be good to air it out at a public meeting to address neighborhood concerns and discuss what PP&R had in mind.
Called the Beech Property for its location next to Beech Street, the two noncontiguous parcels were purchased by PP&R in 1984 and 1999 as part of a long-range vision to provide a large neighborhood park for this part of Mid-Multnomah County.
This year, Portland City Council allocated funds for the creation of four master plans for park development by PP&R: Cathedral Park in North Portland, Parklane Park (20 acres in the Centennial neighborhood), Clatsop Butte (16 acres that border the Centennial and David Douglas School Districts) and the Beech site.
The Beech property has been land banked since its purchase from the Garre family, and the Garres continued farming the site until May of this year. Councils endorsement of the master plan process ends the Garres farming stint but allows the park planning to begin.
In September or October, PP&R will plant tall fescue grass to help hold the winter rain and prevent run-off at the two sites, which will require mowing four to six times a year Brenner said.
People had concerns: mice and rodents infiltrating the homes that border on the land and the addition of through streets.
People had issues: crime and transportation.
People had all types of questions typical of any neighborhood meeting from inane, Will people who sign the sign-in sheet get unwanted e-mails? to germane, Will there be housing development on either or both sites? and everything in between.
The answer to the first was, Parks & Recreation isnt in the habit of selling [its] mailing lists. The answer to the second was that the north parcel is zoned residential, but PP&R is set on building a park unless the community overwhelmingly wants development there; then PP&R would sell the parcel to the highest bidder.
One person, identifying themselves as a teacher at Madison High School, warned the assembled what not to have in their new park: Since the parks bureau opened Glenhaven Skatepark (next to Madison on Northeast 82nd Avenue), many students try to skip out to go to the skatepark. Theres been increased graffiti, vandalism and drug use, all of it. I just wanted to let you people know it.
In response to peoples concerns, Whitcomb said, Im not going to be the master planning person out here to do this I used to be. I do property acquisition now.
Whitcomb tried to communicate the master planners position, though. The thing that Ive always told people when I come out here is this: When I leave and either one of two things happens either everybodys happy with me or everybodys upset with me then Ive done my job because I could never make half the people happy and half the people mad. Its a matter of compromise. It always is. I know the other planners have experienced that too.
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