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Iconic natural area receives $1.5 million to move forward
(Portland, OR) –
State Representative Mitch Greenlick and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) announce that the Oregon Legislature approved $1.5 million in funding towards an official entrance to PP&R’s 5,200-acre Forest Park. The entrance, first proposed in the 1995 Forest Park Natural Resource Management Plan, will include a nature center, ADA accessible trail and parking lot.
“Forest Park is a world-class urban treasure,” says Rep. Greenlick. “The city has been a great steward of the Park for 100 years. This project is the centerpiece of the dream for the next 100 years, keeping the Park alive and accessible.”
The new nature center will be located off Highway 30 and NW Kittridge on a former industrial brownfield adjacent to Forest Park. PP&R finished acquiring the property in 2014, and with support from Metro’s voter-approved Parks and Nature program and Parks System Development Charges (SDCs). The property has since been cleaned up and has DEQ approval for the project to proceed.
The Legislature’s significant investment kicks off the next phases of the project, including site planning and design. Upon completion of these phases, the project will be ‘shovel ready.’
The new nature center will have a parking lot big enough for school buses, and will increase field trip opportunities for the region’s school children, spurring a lifetime of nature connection and stewardship. The site will also have an ADA-accessible trail with a viewing platform sited to allow great views over the working Willamette River, the St. Johns neighborhood and beyond. Thanks to Legislative leadership, and other generous public and private partnerships that have contributed to this project, opportunities for education and recreation will be available to more Oregonians of all ages and abilities.
“We warmly welcome the state funding for this much anticipated project,” says City Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I’m delighted and thankful that Rep. Greenlick worked so hard to show the Oregon Legislature why they should prioritize an entrance to Forest Park. This proves clearly that our state leaders share our vision, that Forest Park should be more accessible to people of all ages; and one that deserves a nature center, where people from around the globe can learn more about the largest forested urban park in the US.”
“Forest Park is one of the most undiscovered gems in Portland’s entire parks system,” says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “This project will help Forest Park to be more discoverable for all Portlanders. We are building the parks system for the next generation of environmental stewards.”
The project is supplemented by $800,000 in Portland Parks SDC dollars. These are not tax dollars, rather SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development to cover a portion of the cost of providing specific types of public infrastructure required as a result of the new development. Park SDCs help ensure that Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing additional parks and recreation facilities needed to accommodate growth.
Forest Park is the largest forested park within city limits in the lower 48 states... This forest within a city is part of a wildlife corridor that extends west to the Oregon coast and south to Tryon Creek State Park. Portland Parks & Recreation’s Forest Park provides home to an abundance of wildlife; more than 100 bird and 45 mammal species. With its massive tree canopy and substantial undergrowth, the park serves as a natural air purifier, water collector, and erosion controller. Forest Park contains 75 miles of trails providing for passive recreation to hikers, runners and walkers, 28 miles of trail for bikers and 25 miles of trail for horseback riding.
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