Duniway is a loved park by community members and serves a Portland-wide user base with a broad set of athletic interests and abilities. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has an opportunity to accept a donation of improvements to Duniway Park. These improvements are for the track, field and associated amenities including parking and lighting.
PP&R maintenance and reservations staff indicated support for the installation of an artificial turf field, an improved track and increased parking. This support is based on their experience that field space is at a premium in SW Portland, feedback and complaints from the surrounding community and users about a lack of parking and parking encroachment in the business area, and the desire to provide a regulation track that allows the variety of users to practice for competitions. The park currently has 10 parking spaces and the access and exit from the parking area on Barbur Blvd. is considered dangerous by both PBOT and users.
Tuesday, November 11, 2015, a second community gathering took place to review two improvement options, one with parking access off of Sheridan Street (Option 1) and the other with parking access proposed off of Barbur Blvd (Option 2). More than 100 individuals participated in this meeting.
Public comments on the proposed options were received through November 24, 2015. The online comment form was sent out to community members several times between the meeting date and the close of the comment period. More than 200 individuals submitted comments.
PP&R heard the following responses:
- Access to the track and field is important – the community would like PP&R to maintain our current permitting practices where outside lanes of the track are available during permitted practices, and where the track is available while the field is permitted. Additionally, it was requested that PP&R identify times for ensured “drop in” access to the field and track.
- Parking is of great concern- parking at the Sheridan access is opposed by the majority of the community. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) generally prefers creating a parking lot and access from Sheridan St., but will consider improving access from Barbur Blvd. PBOT shared this perspective at the November meeting.
- Lighting - A significant majority of respondents expressed comfort with the newly available lighting technology that severely limits light pollution. Less than ¼ of respondents expressed opposition to field lights.
- Synthetic turf - Almost 48% of respondents either supported or understood the need for an artificial turf field. Almost 43% of respondents indicated they believed artificial turf was a health hazard. 10% of respondents did not have an opinion.
- A large permitted event in July/August was an issue for Terwilliger Plaza residents this summer. For residents facing east, this experience is significantly impacting their response to the proposed changes. We’ve proposed connecting Terwilliger Plaza with our event permitting team to better coordinate neighboring events at the park.
Preferred Design and Permitting
Due to the complexity of traffic flow around the park, both options will be reviewed as part of the Bureau of Development Services’ (BDS) pre-application meeting on December 3, 2015. BDS will conduct a Type III Land-use Review. This process includes additional public notice and comment periods.
Based on the information from PP&R customer service staff (field reservations), maintenance staff, and community feedback through comment forms and direct communication, PP&R Director Mike Abbaté and Commissioner Amanda Fritz are moving forward with a design for Duniway Park that includes an artificial turf field, increased parking and access from Barbur Blvd, and field lighting.
It is their belief that this is the best option for PP&R to deliver needed services and programs to all Portlanders. Therefore Portland Park’s staff will identify Option 2 as the preferred schematic design at the pre-application meeting with BDS.
Design details will continue to be refined through the permit review process.
Construction is targeted to begin in the spring of 2016 with completion of the improvements in the fall of 2016.