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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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Ankeny Square—Downtown Commercial Lease Opportunity

Ankeny Square— Downtown Commercial Lease Opportunity Request for Interest
North Park Blocks, SW 8th Avenue and Ankeny Street, Portland, Oregon 97205

Click here for a printable PDF of the information below.

Program Objective

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) invites individuals, community-based organizations, private businesses and non-profit organizations to submit proposals for a lease agreement at Ankeny Square. The goal of this lease agreement is to support activities that are responsive to critical community needs in the area, while also bringing daily positive activity and energy to Ankeny Square and the North Park Blocks. PP&R is seeking concepts that creatively use job skills training, educational opportunities, arts programming, or similar activities to support individuals experiencing or transitioning from homelessness, while also providing an amenity to the park. Successful proposal must demonstrate a sound business plan with financial sustainability.

PP&R recognizes that an effective, service-oriented lease agreement for this property has the potential to positively enhance the experience of park users, businesses and residents surrounding the North Park Blocks, as well as visitor experience downtown. Ankeny Square includes an outdoor plaza with café tables and seating, lighting, a stage/performance area, restrooms, water and electricity, and capacity to accommodate up to 5 vendors. PP&R will entertain proposals for an initial lease term of five (5) years with options to renew. Tenants will be responsible for all operating costs, including maintenance, utilities, and security. The lease rates will be negotiated based upon the type of proposed use, as well as tenant investment in permanent improvements to the site.


Ankeny Square is part of the North Park Blocks, and was gifted to the City of Portland in 1869 by John Couch, making it one of Portland’s oldest parks. The original design concept for the North Park Blocks was for a continuation of the South Park Blocks, which had been dedicated to the City by Daniel Lownsdale in 1852 as the first official greenspace in Portland. The Park Blocks (both North and South) were included in the original design of the City of Portland as continuous Park Blocks, and were integral to the 1903 Olmsted Plan. Six of the South Park Blocks were lost to private parties in 1873, but two of the missing blocks have since been recaptured (O’Bryant Square was purchased in 1973, and Director Park opened in 2009). The more recent development of Jamison Square, Tanner Springs Park and The Fields Park strengthened the network of open spaces that connect and encourage pedestrian movement throughout downtown Portland.

Ankeny Square is a critical central block because it extends the North Park Blocks, and pulls pedestrian movement, across Burnside to connect to the Midtown Blocks at O’Bryant Square and Director Park, and into the South Park Blocks. Portland Parks & Recreation strives to promote positive activity, safety and connectivity in the Park Blocks.

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Goals for Ankeny Square

  • Provide activities, job skills training, artistic expression, and/or educational opportunities to support individuals experiencing or transitioning from homelessness
  • Reimagine Ankeny Square to become the vibrant, community open space it was always intended to be.
  • Bring daily positive activity and energy to Ankeny Square.
  • Keep the area clean and safe
  • Support activities that are responsive to critical community needs in the area and provide positive park experiences.
  • Support activities that promote connectivity, pedestrian movement, and safety in the North and South Park Blocks.
  • Support activities that strengthen networks and encourage creative partnerships between the City, nonprofits, community-based organizations and residents.
  • Support cultural, ritual, and artistic practices that bring diverse people together and contribute to more cohesive, resilient communities.


  1. Tenant Improvements: The buildings at Ankeny Square need repairs to be usable beyond storage. Ideally, the buildings could be opened up to the central plaza area, which would require significant tenant investment. PP&R does not have a budget for capital improvements at Ankeny Square, but the bureau will consider a reduced lease rate in exchange for tenant improvements.

  2. Safety and Security: Past attempts to activate Ankeny Square have not been successful. The park is disconnected from the rest of the North Park Blocks by Burnside, and the South Park Blocks by private businesses. There are few lines of visibility from neighboring residents and area businesses. PP&R is seeking creative proposals with a realistic understanding of these challenges, and strategies for long-term, positive activation of the park.

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Evaluation Criteria

This RFI requires proposers to provide the following:

Cover Letter must include the following (5 points): RFI title, Name(s) of person(s) authorized to represent the Proposer in any agreement negotiations and execution, contact information (street address, phone and email addresses). Cover letter must provide an overview of the concept, and demonstrate how the proposal meets PP&R’s goals for Ankeny Square.

Business Plan must include the following:

  • Concise summary of the proposal and identification of how proposed idea/activity will meet PP&R’s program objective and goals identified above. (10 points) Proposals must clearly explain how the proposed idea/activity will produce clearly defined support and opportunity for individuals experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness.Proposals must clearly define positive financial, social, environmental and/or cultural impact to the North Park Blocks, and the surrounding neighborhoods, and provide positive park experience.

  • Proposer’s qualifications and experience (10 points) Proposer must have experience and qualifications necessary to operate their proposed business.

  • Details of expected startup costs, including any required tenant improvements; and description of the capabilities of the Proposer including financial capacity to start and operate proposed idea/activity. (10 points) Proposal must demonstrate a sound business plan with financial sustainability. PP&R will not provide financial or staff support for operations, maintenance, security, programming, or other proposed activities.

  • Maintenance/Cleaning Plan (5 points) 
    The Ankeny Square tenant/operator will be required to maintain the site in a neat and clean condition. Proposals must include site maintenance cleaning and maintenance plan to respond to a high trafficked site in a public park.

  • Safety/Security Plan (5 points) 
    Ankeny Square is a public park in downtown Portland. Proposals must include an internal safety/security plan to address the unique challenges and opportunities of being a tenant of a public park as opposed to a stand-alone tenant space. Some level of evening and nighttime security will be necessary.

  • Seasonal Plan (5 points) 
    PP&R desires year-round, daily positive activity in Ankeny Square. Proposals must include a summary of how the proposed activity meets this goal, and how proposer plans to adapt operations (i.e, days and hours of operation) to meet the seasonality of the park.

  • Concept Site Plan (5 points)
    Provide description of your utilization of the space and design needs for your proposed idea/activity in narrative form, a simple site plan sketch, and other graphics, including but not limited to images of your concept. If changes to the site are anticipated, proposal must include financial strategy for planned improvements.

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Proposal Evaluation

An evaluation review committee will evaluate the proposals received. For the purpose of scoring, each of the committee members will evaluate proposals in accordance with the criteria and point factors listed above. The evaluation committee may seek outside expertise, including but not limited to input from technical advisors, to assist in evaluating proposals. High scoring to a proposal is not a guarantee that an agreement will result.

The successful proposer(s) shall be selected by the following process:

  1. The committee will score the written proposals based on the information submitted according to the evaluation criteria and point factors.
  2. The committee will require a minimum of 10 working days to evaluate and score the written proposals.
  3. A short list of proposers may be selected for oral interviews if deemed necessary, which may result in additional points. The City reserves the right to increase or decrease the number of proposers on the short list depending on whether the proposers have a reasonable chance of being awarded a contract.

PP&R reserves the right to consider one or multiple proposals with compatible uses/activities. PP&R also reserves the right to reject all proposals. Nothing in this RFI mandates PP&R enter into any contract with proposer. Following the proposal evaluation, PP&R may select one of these options:

  1. Approval of one or multiple proposals and enter into negotiations; Lease for Ankeny Square anticipated to commence Spring/Summer 2018
  2. Request additional information from the proposer(s); or
  3. Reject all proposal(s).

All PP&R decisions are final, and not subject to appeal or dispute.

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Proposal Submission

Optional on-site pre-submittal meeting will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 11:00am. Proposers are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting as they will have the opportunity to view the current conditions of the site. In addition, PP&R staff will speak to the relationship of this space with regard to activities, challenges and opportunities in the North Park Blocks.

Proposals are due not later than Thursday, May 3, 2018 (PP&R reserves the right to extend RFI period. If extension is issued, all submitted proposals will have the opportunity to use this extra time to update their proposals if they desire.)

Proposals submitted will be no more than 10 pages. Please submit one electronic copy to the PP&R Contact listed below by due date.

Megan Dirks, Innovation Project Manager
Property & Business Development
Portland Parks & Recreation
1001 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 2200
Portland, Oregon 97204

Preferred Use Guidelines

Ankeny Square is zoned Open Space (OS) per City Code (33.100 Open Space Zone). All proposed activities must complement the park, and be associated with a Park and Open Areas use. The following list of desired uses is a tool for prospective applicants. However, PP&R will consider all proposals that meet the desired program objectives and stated goals. The following list has been created to serve not as pre-approval, but as guidelines, each use remaining subject to a level quality screening. Proposals that meet the desired objectives for year-round, daily positive activity will be prioritized.

(i) Preferred uses
The following uses are desired for the premises:

  • Food Pod featuring on-site food and beverage vendors (small, portable, self-contained food/beverage carts)
  • Art Pod featuring on-site arts education, crafts, music, art vendors
  • Visitor/Information Center
  • Open Air Marketplace (fresh produce, flowers, etc.)
  • Gallery
  • Opportunities, events, and activities that support health/wellness
  • Opportunities, events, and activities that support arts/culture

(ii) Not acceptable uses
The following uses are not allowed for the Premises per zoning code. PP&R will not consider proposals for the following activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Residential use – household living, group living, shelters
  • Office
  • Commercial parking
  • Vehicle servicing
  • Vehicle repair
  • Self-service storage
  • Medical center
  • Industrial use
  • Religious institution

PP&R does not have a budget or staffing for capital improvements, maintenance, operating costs, or security beyond current levels. However, PP&R will consider proposals for a reduced lease rate to account for tenant investment in permanent site improvements, as well as increased maintenance and security investments that promote positive activity, safety and connectivity in the Park Blocks.

PP&R will consider all proposals that meet the primary goal of supporting activities, job skills training, artistic expression, and/or educational opportunities that directly impact and support individuals experiencing or transitioning from homelessness.

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