Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz dedicates more System Development Charges to enhance 25 acre park in east Portland
(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz announces allocation of $6 million in investments over the next few years for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s Parklane Park, SE 155th and Main in east Portland. The funding will go towards the park’s first phase of development, and comes from development fees known as System Development Charge revenue (not General Fund tax dollars).
Commissioner Fritz and PP&R aim to achieve the full vision of the Parklane Park Master Plan, but recognize that the full park development may need to be completed in phases. The park site encompasses 25 acres in far southeast Portland, an area that has fewer parks and green spaces than other parts of Portland. Only five of the park’s 25 acres are currently developed. When fully developed, Parklane Park will serve 2,119 households, including 357 new households not already served by another park or natural area.
“We have worked hard with the community to identify the greatest needs in east Portland,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Compared with other areas of the City, far fewer people in east Portland currently enjoy easy access to a park or natural area. The community has a vision for Parklane Park, and this $6 million investment will be an important step towards realizing the community’s goals. The park has 25 acres of land, and a completed Master Plan. Both of these factors make it an ideal site to develop more fully for the benefit of current and future generations.”
The site of Parklane Park was originally Native American land. More recently, it was used as an airfield, and then a s a gravel quarry which was later filled with remnant debris. Due to the potential required environmental remediation of the land and other site conditions, the first priority for further Phase I park development will be to investigate the condition of undeveloped portion of the park site. This will allow PP&R to understand what park elements are possible to include in the first phase budget.
After site remediation has been addressed, PP&R will engage in an extensive public involvement process. This will allow the community to work with staff to prioritize elements identified in the Parklane Park Master Plan, and determine which of them can be implemented in the next few years. The timing of the public process, and of planning, construction, etc., is being determined. PP&R expects to begin public outreach for the project in 2018.
“Once completed, Parklane Park will be one of the largest parks in outer southeast Portland, and serve more than 2100 families,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “There is an abundance of open land with views of Mt. Hood and the broad skyscape. Commissioner Fritz’s funding allocation means we can move forward on realizing the established vision of Parklane as a destination for sports, exercise, contemplation, unstructured play, special events, and much more.”
The currently developed portion of Parklane Park includes an accessible play area, drinking fountains, a basketball court, park paths, picnic tables, park benches, a softball field, and a soccer field. Future Parklane Park elements identified in the Master Plan will need to be completed in phases, and are subject to available funds and technical feasibility.
“Those of us living in the Centennial neighborhood took a look at the Master Plan for Parklane Park, and instantly recognized the potential for it to become a signature park in east Portland,” says neighborhood advocate Tom Lewis, who has lived near the park for more than 60 years. “Through these investments, the City is helping to give our youth a constructive place for sports and play, and a site to meet friends from near and far. The Centennial Community Association thanks Commissioner Fritz for helping east Portland move toward greater equity and equality.”
Commissioner Fritz vows to seek and direct more funding for Parklane Park, above and beyond what it is currently allocated, and as new SDC revenue projections are determined. Over the last two years, Commissioner Fritz and Director Abbaté have designated tens of millions of dollars to begin to address parks infrastructure inequities in east Portland—including building the new Gateway Discovery Park (construction now underway) and Luuwit View Park (construction starts in June, 2016). There are also now new trails at Clatsop Butte Park, master planning processes for Mill and Midland Parks, and for a future park at SE 150th & Division.
Thanks to the Parks Replacement Bond, passed by Portlanders in 2014, some of the changes in east Portland residents will see include five new loos, restored tennis courts at Argay Park, a replacement for the Ventura Park playground, a new playground at Lynchview Park and a variety of ADA upgrades at these sites as well.
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. 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. PP&R has additional and unfunded growth needs of approximately $472 million over the next ten years.
Funding for the next step in Parklane Park’s development comes not from General Fund Tax dollars, but from System Development Charges (SDCs). These are one-time fees assessed on new development to cover a portion of the cost of providing specific types of public infrastructure required as a result of this development. Park SDCs are restricted by law and can only be used to expand capacity (rather than to maintain or repair existing park facilities). SDCs help ensure that Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing additional parks and recreation facilities needed to accommodate growth.
However, SDCs are unfortunately insufficient to fully address the hundreds of park projects needed by our rapidly growing neighborhoods.
”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 the $6M in SDC funding for Parklane Park after careful consideration of community input.