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Food carts, music, cultural activites enhance Ankeny Square

POSTED AUGUST 24, 2016

(Portland, OR) –

Activities in place now; community celebration set for Thursday, September 15

Grubbin’, a food cart pod and arts endeavor created by Portland’s Jamal Gardner, is now active at Ankeny Square in the North Park Blocks (SW Ankeny and W Burnside). Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) chose Gardner’s proposal out of 15 visionary and competitive ideas to create a welcoming presence at the previously under-utilized park space, and to help enhance the entire area.

A community gathering celebrating the area’s revitalization is set for Thursday, September 15, from 12pm-1pm. Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and other city and community leaders will be there; everyone is welcome to attend.

WHAT: Celebrate the revitalization of Ankeny Square in the North Park Blocks!
WHERE: Ankeny Square, SW Ankeny and W Burnside
WHEN: Thursday, September 15, 2016; 12pm-1pm.
Free and open to everyone.

“Portland has world-class neighborhoods because of the vibrant activity we infuse in them — we call it ‘placemaking’, and it’s what makes our city so special,” says Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “This centrally located square is a tremendous example of a successful public-private partnership creating a perfect place for neighbors and visitors to experience Portland.”

Grubbin’ offers daily food carts and regular arts and music offerings at Ankeny Square at the North Park Blocks. The idea for more cool happenings at the square came from neighbors and businesses surrounding the park, and remains fully supported by Portland Parks & Recreation. Across the PP&R system, programmed activities are found to create a vibrant, engaging, and positive environment for parks and neighborhoods.

“It is wonderful to see a young entrepreneur’s vision come to life, and even better when it dovetails with the needs of our City and parks system,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “When there are desirable, family-friendly activities happening in a park, our experience has clearly shown that the surrounding neighborhood benefits. I look forward to the community celebration around Ankeny Square’s renewal.”

Ankeny Square is located between West Burnside and SW Ankeny, and between SW 8th Ave and SW Park Ave on the edge of the Pearl District in downtown Portland. Ankeny Square sits at the southern end of Portland's historic North Park Blocks, and has long been an integral part of downtown life. One of the city’s oldest public spaces, the North Park Blocks were dedicated to the City by Captain John Couch in 1869. Ankeny Square at the North Park Blocks now has a BIKETOWN-Portland Bike Share station.

“Grubbin’ is an exciting new way to activate a historic park site, which is becoming increasingly an important consideration with our parks,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “The City has enhanced much of the infrastructure at the Ankeny Square, and Jamal has brought in activities that people want to stop by and enjoy. It’s a win-win for the benefit of all Portlanders.”

“The idea of Grubbin’ came from my desire to create a one-stop shop for family-friendly, multicultural food and art,” says Gardner. “The visitor experience is enhanced by bike parking on site; delicious food, music and art. This is a challenging endeavor, but one I’m delighted to undertake. It’s my hope this will prove to be a mutually beneficial relationship between Grubbin’ and our clients, neighbors and businesses, and the City.”

Portland Parks & Recreation continues to work on enhancing the Ankeny Square environment via carpentry painting, electrical and mechanical work. Fencing is expected to be up as work dictates to allow crews to clean, paint, and further spruce up the historic space.

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