(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz announce the names of the two new east Portland parks which will begin construction this spring. Gateway Discovery Park will be the name of the park encompassing nearly four acres off NE Halsey Street between NE 104th & 106th avenues, built in partnership with the Portland Development Commission (PDC). The 16-acre neighborhood park at NE 126th Avenue & Beech Street (previously referred to as the Beech property) will be named Luuwit (pronounced loo-WIT) View Park.
Together, the two parks will serve nearly 1800 households which do not currently have ready access to a park or natural area.
Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz dedicated System Development Charge funds (revenue from new construction development in Portland) to the two projects in 2014. In January 2015, PP&R and the community began working together to develop the designs for the parks. The designs for both parks were finalized in the summer of 2015. Construction on the two new green spaces is scheduled to break ground in spring of 2016.
PP&R thanks the volunteers who served on park naming committees, comprising area neighbors, community advocates, representatives of traditionally underserved communities, and volunteers recruited and appointed by Commissioner Fritz and PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. Additionally, the Bureau thanks the Argay Terrace Neighborhood Association, Gateway Area Business Association, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and the Parkrose Heights Neighborhood Associations for their participation and support in the design and naming processes.
“These two new parks represent a significant step in addressing historic inequities in park facilities in east Portland,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “All over Portland, people are telling me, ‘Provide parks for people who don’t have one.’ There are inequities in every neighborhood, and insufficient resources to correct them all. Luuwit View Park and Gateway Discovery Park continue the City’s determination to correct the disparities in east Portland.”
Portland Parks & Recreation solicited park names through October 2015, from neighbors via public meetings, the PP&R website and emails to community stakeholders. Potential names were weighed according to the vision and goals for each park and the guidelines stipulated in the Portland Parks & Recreation naming policy. Both Luuwit View and Gateway Discovery Parks received nine name submissions.
“It is extremely exciting to see these park projects continue,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “A key milestone in the development of a new project is the name that the park will be known by for generations to come. We are so grateful to the naming committee, and to the Project Advisory Committee who, along with City staff, are guiding the development of these sites. Luuwit View and Gateway Discovery Parks will be memorable into the future“.
GATEWAY DISCOVERY PARK
Harper’s Playground committed to raising the funds to make the new Gateway Discovery Park the site of Portland’s next inclusive, barrier-free playground: the second in the City of Portland. Their first project is at Arbor Lodge Park in north Portland. The non-profit group participated on Project Advisory Committee and advised on inclusive design. The committee and the community were very committed to creating a play area that supported the participation of ALL children. Harper’s Playground continues to advocate for inclusive playgrounds citywide.
“The name ‘Gateway Discovery Park’ invokes the same exciting sense of adventure that awaits in our entire neighborhood,” says Linda Sanchez, a member of the park’s naming committee. “GABA – the Gateway Area Business Association – shares the excitement of east Portland neighbors for the amazing new gathering space coming soon. It will really be a gateway into Gateway!”
Fast Facts on Gateway Discovery Park:
A partnership project with Portland Development Commission
The nearly four-acre park will become a “living room” for the Gateway neighborhood, featuring accessible spaces and activities for all ages, including a plaza ready to accommodate a variety of events, festivals, and farmers' markets. As envisioned in the Master Plan, the park will also include flexible green spaces to accommodate picnic areas, accessible playground features and nature play.
The park will serve more than 800 new households which currently do not have ready access to a park. Data show that 36% of these households are racial and ethnic minorities, and 28% are experiencing poverty.
Project construction cost is estimated at $5.2 million, which includes $4.2 million from System Development Charges (not General Fund tax dollars) and $1 million from The Portland Development Commission (PDC).
LuuWIT VIEW PARK (pronounced loo-WIT)
Spread on 16 acres adjacent to Shaver Elementary School in northeast Portland’s Argay neighborhood, Luuwit View Park will feature a soccer field and basketball court, accessible play and picnic areas, parking, community gardens, a fenced off-leash dog area, and foot and bike paths with expansive views – including a majestic vista of Luuwit (the Native American name for the iconic Mt. St. Helens).
The park will serve nearly 1000 new households, ones which currently do not have ready access to a park.
“Recommending an appropriate name was difficult, but ultimately we enjoyed a rewarding outcome,” says Nina Palacios, a member of the Luuwit View naming committee. “I’m excited about the new park, one we’ve been eagerly anticipating for so long. I volunteer at the adjacent Shaver School, and the kids there are bursting with anticipation for their new park! I very much appreciate being a part of the naming process.”
The park’s name helps to honor the indigenous people who first lived on the land, and to recognize the overall history of the area.
“The name ‘Luuwit View Park’ holds meaning on many different levels”, says Cary Watters, a member of the Tlingit Tribe and of the park naming committee. “The fact that this park's name is a Native [Chinook Wawa] word, and that it honors the traditional way in which our people named places, is a huge step forward in healing - not only for the Native community, but for the land and the at-large community.”
Fast Facts on Luuwit View Park:
Adjacent to Shaver Elementary School in the Parkrose School District, in the Argay neighborhood of NE Portland. It will feature a playground, grand views, a youth sports field, a full-size basketball court and a teen area. The latter will include a climbing structure, two ping pong tables, a group seating area; and a skate park is under discussion. The entire teen area will be covered, with colorful sports court surfacing. Other features include accessible play and picnic areas, shelters, a restroom, pedestrian and bike paths, parking, community gardens, and a fenced off-leash dog area.
The park will serve 965 new households which currently do not have ready access to a park. Data show that 49% of these households are racial and ethnic minorities, and 23% are experiencing poverty.
Project construction cost is estimated at $7.8 million, from Parks System Development Charges (not General Fund tax dollars).
As Portland Parks & Recreation commits to new parks in communities where none currently exist - and to expanding other parks - many existing parks are at a crossroads. For decades, PP&R operating funding has been cut or remained flat, forcing the Bureau to postpone rehabilitation and maintenance in every neighborhood throughout the City. Despite the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond, passed by voters with overwhelming support, the list of needs across the PP&R system is huge, and grows every year that we don’t address it. PP&R has anticipated unfunded maintenance needs totaling nearly $250 million over the next 10 years. The beautiful parks we love to visit are being held together by thousands of volunteers and wonderful employees going above and beyond the call of duty.
System Development Charges, the funding being used to create the two new parks in east Portland (not General Fund tax dollars) are restricted to expanding capacity only. SDCs cannot be used to maintain or repair existing facilities. It is also insufficient to fully address the hundreds of park projects needed by our rapidly growing neighborhoods – an additional need of approximately $472 million over the next ten years.
”In east Portland, two out of every five households do not have easy access to a City park. That is in stark contrast to the rest of Portland where four out of every five households live within a half-mile of a park or natural area“, adds Commissioner Fritz, who designated Luuwit View and Gateway Discovery Parks for development after careful consideration of community input. Commissioner Fritz considered four worthy park options that were ready to build in east Portland – those with completed Master Plans.