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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 Fifth Avenue, Suite 858
Portland, Oregon 97204

503-823-7529

Gary Datka, Project Manager

971-288-9230

Maija Spencer, Public Involvement Coordinator

503-823-5593

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Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park

  • After construction - new public art at Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park

  • After construction - aerial view of Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park

  • After construction - new playground at Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park

  • Before construction - looking east

  • Before construction - park entry at SE 167th Avenue

Project Updates

June 9, 2020

Portland Parks & Recreation and Mayor Ted Wheeler are pleased to announce that the former Lynchview Park (SE 167th Avenue and Market Street in east Portland) has been renamed Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park. This is the first Portland park named after a prominent and beloved Black female leader. The site recently underwent major improvements thanks to the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond and Parks System Development Charges.

Before his passing in January 2020, former Parks Commissioner Nick Fish directed a naming committee comprised of nine community members from the Centennial Neighborhood, the Rosewood Initiative, and Patrick Lynch Elementary School to recommend a new name. After reviewing multiple options, the committee chose to honor Verdell Burdine Rutherford.

Click here to view a video from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, PP&R Director Adena Long, and Charlotte Rutherford (Verdell’s daughter) about the importance of this historic name change.

About Verdell Burdine Rutherford

Verdell Burdine (pronounced bur-DYE-n) was born in Oklahoma in 1913 and moved with her family that same year to Oregon, who hoped to get farmland under the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. Upon arrival, they learned that Black people were prohibited from owning free land in Oregon. 

In 1936, Verdell married Otto Rutherford and settled in Portland. Together, they were leaders of the Oregon chapter of the NAACP, a national civil rights organization, and oversaw one of the NAACP’s biggest victories – the passage of the Public Accommodations Act of 1953 which outlawed discrimination in public places on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. 

Rutherford was also a historian of the Black community in Portland. In 2011, a decade after Verdell’s passing, her daughter, Charlotte, gifted her historical collection to Portland State University. It remains accessible for academic research and public use as desired by Verdell. 

“Mom rightfully considered herself a local historian,” said Verdell’s daughter, Charlotte Rutherford. “She was that and so very much more: a beautiful woman with a kind heart and a wonderful sense of humor; a very good cook, especially her yeast rolls; and most importantly to and for me, a loving, supportive and inspirational mother. She was a hardworking volunteer and community activist who did not seek the limelight, but she would have accepted this honor humbly, knowing that this park will provide a place for the community to gather together.”  

Read more about Verdell Burdine Rutherford's story here

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, there are restrictions and/or closures on many Portland Parks & Recreation sites. All PP&R playgrounds are closed at this time. All parks, natural areas, and trails remain open for use. Please follow ALL public health guidelines and maintain 6 feet of social distancing with other park and trail usersincluding PP&R staff who are out working. For updated information on closures and cancellations, please visit portlandoregon.gov/parks/COVID-19 

A community celebration at Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park will be held at a later date. 

March 2020
Construction is beginning to wrap up, and public art has been installed. The main step remaining is installation of the poured-in place rubber surfacing. A community celebration will be held when it is safe to hold large public gatherings. 

May 2019
Construction mobilization will start the week of May 13, 2019.

During construction:

  • Contractors will typically work Monday through Friday, 7am – 4pm. Some work may occur on Saturdays, but all work will be within the City of Portland’s allowed construction hours of 7am - 6pm (Monday - Saturday).
  • Construction access will primarily be from the north park entrance via SE 167th Ave and Market Street, with some intermittent access to from the south at SE 164th Avenue for work on the soccer field and pathways. 
  • Limited pedestrian access will be maintained through Lynchview Park from the south entry at SE 167th Avenue towards Patrick Lynch Elementary and their ball fields. There will also be pedestrian access at the southern entry at SE 164th Avenue to the soccer field until construction work begins to improve irrigation for the soccer field (anticipated to begin late summer 2019). 
  • In general, neighbors should not anticipate to have access from the northern park entrance at SE 167th Avenue into the park or Patrick Lynch Elementary's ball fields.  

April 2019
Parks Commissioner Nick Fish has approved additional System Development Charge funds for this project to allow for the installation of a Portland Loo (permanent restroom) as part of the improvements at this Park. The Loo will be located near the new playground, in a location that was previously planned to have a porta-potty. (The playground will be located along the eastern edge of the Park, near the park entries at SE 167th Avenue). 

In our outreach process during the design phase, we heard interest from many neighbors about having a restroom near the playground, and a Loo was rated as one of the top desired passive amenities

Portland Loos have been installed in many Portland parks, including Waterfront Park, Gateway Discovery Park, Raymond Park, and Parklane Park. Made primarily of steel, they are a single-user restroom that is designed and manufactured in Portland to be ADA-accessible, safe, and graffiti-resistant. Port-a-potties do temporarily fill the need for a public restroom, but they are frequently targets of vandalism in neighborhood parks. 

The Loo will be unlocked/locked daily and will be open on a seasonal basis (spring to fall). Here are some details about the Portland Loo’s features: portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/673319  and here: portlandoregon.gov/parks/59293


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Project Overview
A new playground area, pathways, benches, irrigation improvements, and other park amenities was added to Verdell Burdine Rutherford (formerly Lynchview Park), thanks to funding from the Parks Replacement Bond and System Development Charges. Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park is located at SE 167th Avenue and SE Market Street.

Through a Project Advisory Committee and Community Open House events, the community helped guide the development of a concept plan for the layout of the park and the design of the playground.


Project Manager
Gary Datka, gary.datka@portlandoregon.gov, 971-288-9230

Public Involvement Coordinator
Maija Spencer, maija.spencer@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-5593


Project Advisory Committee Members

Andra Cassen, Yesenia Delgado, Brian Flores Garcia, Emily Garafalo, Jenny Glass, Jennifer Hopkins, Michone Moore, Madelyn Morris, Gayle Palmer, Ana Pineda, Amber Stadler.


Project Timeline

  • Summer 2017 - Winter 2017/18: Concept Development and Public Involvement
  1. Project Advisory Committee Recruitment and Meetings
  2. Community Gathering #1 - September 7, 2017
  3. Community Gathering #2 - November 15, 2018
  4. Community Gathering #3 - February 8, 2018
  5. Community Gathering #4 - April 5, 2018
  • Winter 2017/18 - Spring 2018: Construction Documents
  • Spring 2018 - Fall 2018:  Permitting
  • Fall 2018 - Spring 2019: Bidding and Contracting
  • May 2019 - Spring 2020: Construction

Project Updates
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