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Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

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PP&R completes first Bond project, more than two dozen other projects underway

POSTED JULY 28, 2016

(Portland, OR) –

Bureau issues first Annual Report for the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has begun work on 26 Parks Replacement Bond projects, and has completed the first Bond project with the reopening of Grant Pool. The Bureau presented these and other Bond updates to City Council on Thursday, July 28, 2016, issuing the first Annual Report for the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond.

Photo: The recently completed Parks Replacement Bond project at Grant Pool, which reopened July 25, 2016. Some of Grant Pool’s old inner workings dated from the 1920s before the Bond allowed for much-needed upgrades.

The Annual Report shows that design work is underway or complete on 26 of the 33 Parks Replacement Bond projects, one project (Grant Pool) is already complete, and 16 projects are proceeding ahead of schedule.

The Bond has been a success in its first year based on stated goals to

  • Keep projects on or ahead of schedule.
  • Separate bond fund tracking from other PP&R funds.
  • Establish effective tracking systems.
  • Involve the public and create and utilize transparent processes.

Parks Replacement Bond projects include

  • Playgrounds currently closed, at risk of closure, or deficient, such as Couch, Creston, Kenton, Lents, Lynchview, the North Park Blocks, and Ventura Parks.
  • Bridge and trail repairs in Forest Park and along the Springwater Corridor Trail.
  • Repairs at PP&R pools, including Matt Dishman, and Peninsula (Grant Pool was the first Bond project to be completed, it reopened on July 25, 2016).
  • Restrooms, roofs, other deficient structures and equipment at various PP&R sites.
  • Repairing Pioneer Courthouse Square’s failing structures, leaks, cracks.
  • Removing barriers to accessibility for people experiencing disabilities, at multiple locations.
  • Addressing worker safety and efficiency at PP&R maintenance buildings.

“It is crucial to have the Parks Replacement Bond managed effectively, as it is addressing some of the most pressing needs across the PP&R system,” said City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I am particularly happy to report that 32% of the Bond’s professional services contracts and 21% of construction contracts have gone to minorities, women, and/or emerging small businesses. We will continue to work alongside the community in the implementation of this bond and look forward to further reports on how projects are progressing”. 

In November 2014, 74 percent of Portland voters elected to implement the Parks Replacement Bond – the highest percentage ever of votes for a parks-related ballot measure. The Bond calls for up to $68 million in major repair projects, distributed among two project lists (the current list is for the 33 existing projects totaling $48M; the second Bond project list will be developed this autumn).

“I am grateful to Portlanders for not only supporting the Bond but also helping shape the projects,“ says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “The community’s input results in a better product.”

Highlights of the Annual Report

  • There are currently 33 Bond projects: 18 ahead of schedule, 12 on schedule, three behind schedule
  • 26 of the 33 Bond projects are now underway, in either design or construction; the remaining seven will begin design work in 2016-17
  • 21 projects will break ground in 2016-17

“The Bond’s $68 million in funding will help address some of the most crucial needs of the Parks system,” added Commissioner Fritz. “But unfortunately, it is not enough to close the gap on all of our major maintenance needs. We will continue to look for ways to leverage bond funds with outside grants and private fundraising efforts. And I will continue to look for ways to address the needs of our parks system.”

More help is needed to close the play gap

Portland Parks & Recreation remains grateful to Portland voters for the $68 million Parks Replacement Bond, which takes aim at a $248M funding gap for major maintenance needs over the next ten years. Further, PP&R anticipates $472M in unfunded growth needs during that period. That adds up to a $720M funding gap over the next decade, which Commissioner Fritz will continue to work with City Council to address. Currently, 20% of people living in Portland do NOT have access to a park or natural area within a 15 minute walk, and the bureau is working hard to close this “play gap”.

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