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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Land Acquisition Program

Property acquisitions for park purposes are made possible through a variety of resources. In some cases, funds are obtained for purchase of a specific piece of property through grants or special one-time allocations from City Council. Bond measures have provided resources for park acquisition in the past. The Park System Development Charge fund can be used for acquisitions that add capacity to the park system to address the need created by new development. PP&R has received properties through generous donations, foreclosures, or surplus properties from other public entities. PP&R also partners with other Bureaus and agencies in funding the acquisition of properties that serve multiple needs. 

PP&R’s Land Acquisition Strategy provides the framework for determining which potential acquisition projects to pursue. The strategy focuses on these program areas:

      • Recreational trail corridors
      • In-holdings and adjacent properties
      • Natural areas
      • Outdoor recreational opportunities
      • Indoor recreational opportunities
      • Significant cultural resource properties
      • Maintenance and administrative facilities

PP&R is continually identifying opportunities and gathering information for potential park acquisitions. Community nominations are one of the ways that PP&R learns about these opportunities. The Site Nomination Form provides staff with the basic information needed to evaluate a suggested site. Once the form is received, preliminary research and review is completed to determine how well the site fits with the PP&R acquisition criteria in the Land Acquisition Strategy. If PP&R finds that the site is not in alignment with the Land Acquisition Strategy, PP&R will inform the submitter. If the site is in alignment with the Land Acquisition Strategy, then PP&R will consider the site in the context of other acquisition opportunities and available funding, and the submitter will be notified that this is a site that PP&R will consider in the future. In general, PP&R does not use eminent domain to purchase land, but it can be used in rare cases with the approval of City Council. In those cases, the owner would likely be compensated with fair market value or higher for the property easement. But usually, if a property owner is not interested in selling land or easements to PP&R, PP&R respects an owner’s decision and does not force an acquisition. 

As funds for acquisition become available, properties listed in the inventory are evaluated based on the City’s acquisition priorities and, if applicable, the criteria of the funding source. This is an ongoing process. For some funding sources, funds for acquisition compete with funds for development, programming, or other Bureau needs. Generally, Parks has very limited funding for acquisition.

To view a slideshow illustrating the acquisition of park land in the PP&R by decade, click here.