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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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1120 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 1302
Portland, Oregon 97204

503-823-PLAY (7529)

Britta Herwig, Project Manager


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Forest Park Entrance and Nature Center

Preferred Design Plan  Site Topography

Forest Park Site Topography Plan

First Floor of Building Plan Second Floor of Building Plan

Forest Park Ground Floor Plan

Forest Park Second Floor Plan

Project Overview

The Entrance and Nature Center provides an inclusive welcoming entrance to Forest Park. The Nature Center will showcase the park’s special character and its timeless importance to Portland and the greater region. 

The elements proposed for this project include:

  • an accessible site entry, parking, efficient circulation, and bus drop off
  • visitor amenities such as pedestrian and bike trails, boardwalks and a gathering space/amphitheater
  • an iconic and inviting Nature Center, educational exhibits, community gathering and learning spaces, classrooms, public restrooms, as well as office functions
  • enhanced natural landscape and wetland plantings

Forest Park is a treasured ecological and recreational resource for all Portlanders. To help us understand your needs and concerns around this important project, we have:

  • reached out to more than 50 partners and organizations
  • engaged more than 10 community organizations through focus groups and on our Advisory Committee
  • received thousands of public comments throughout the process
  • developed a preferred design alternative that represents a balanced and thoughtful approach to meeting your needs while taking into consideration the complexity of the project site and the resulting constraints as well as PP&R staff input

This preferred alternative sets up the basic program elements, the scale of the project and the general layout of site. We will continue to refine details based on technical reviews and cost considerations.

Project Schedule

  • January 2016 - RFP for design is issued

  • June 2016 - Dangermond Keane Architecture selected to lead design

  • July 2016 through March 2017 -  Schematic design and public involvement process

  • Construction timeline is pending project funding

Project Background

Forest Park is considered the crown jewel of Portland Parks & Recreation’s park system. Located in Northwest Portland and situated on the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains, a small mountain range connected to the Oregon Coast Range, it forms the green “backbone” of the City of Portland.  The 5,200 acre natural area is a major Portland landmark that provides habitat for over 180 species of birds and mammals, offers Portlanders respite from the bustling city, and serves as an outdoor classroom for environmental education and research. With its massive tree canopy, substantial undergrowth, and extensive waterways, the Park serves as a natural air purifier and water collector. It offers over 100 miles of recreational trails including the 30-mile Wildwood Trail, which is part of the region’s 40-Mile Loop system that in turn links Forest Park to pedestrian and trail routes throughout the region. 

The importance of this large, densely forested natural area to the City of Portland and its citizens has been recognized as early as 1903 in the Olmsted Study, which called for the preservation of this beautiful natural area. The first 4,200 acres of the Park were dedicated in 1948, and since then, there have been several efforts to establish a balance between resource protection and ever increasing use. 

The most recent plan is the Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (NRMP) from 1995 which provides a set of management guidelines to meet conservation, recreation and education goals that were created with extensive public involvement and outreach to a broad spectrum of internal and external stakeholders.This plan identifies the lack of a recognizable main entrance to the Park, a single point of access where visitors can discover information about Forest Park’s rich ecology, connect to the Park’s trails, and engage in stewardship and education programs.

In recognizing the need for a multi-pronged strategic investment vision PP&R created the Renew Forest Park initiative. It consists of three critical parts:

  1. Restore Forest Park – An effort to transform the Park’s ecological health by removing invasive plant species and restoring native plantings in their place.

  2. Rebuild Forest Park – An effort to rebuild several bridges and culverts in the Park.

  3. Reconnect Forest Park – An effort to create a recognizable entry point for visitors to discover information about the park’s rich ecology, trails, plus opportunities to engage in stewardship and educational programs. 

This project will address Reconnect Forest Park. To advance that vision, PP&R has acquired key pieces of property at the intersection of NW Yeon/Highway 30 and NW Kittridge, the project site. PP&R with its partners, the Forest Park Conservancy and the Oregon State Legislature, is now embarking on the task of creating an iconic entrance to Forest Park

Renew Forest Park phases and icons