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1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
POSTED JUNE 11, 2018
(Portland, OR) –
Gabriel Park playground to become Portland Parks & Recreation’s newest inclusive play area
City of Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Portland Parks & Recreation announce that Gabriel Park (SW Vermont Street and 45th Avenue) will be the site of the next inclusive playground in the PP&R system. The new playground will become a “destination” site, with a footprint of 10,000 square feet, up from 3,250 square feet. Inclusive playgrounds provide a rich play experience, addressing physical, sensory, and social needs of all children and their caregivers, and are designed with universal accessibility in mind, accommodating everyone and challenging them at their own developmental level.
The project is anticipated to include the new inclusive playground as well as pathway and parking improvements. Portland Parks & Recreation expects the play area to be completed in late 2020, after a public involvement process for the design this fall and winter—including robust outreach to community members who are experiencing disabilities.
“Inclusive play allows children of all abilities to enjoy our parks,” says Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Gabriel Park is a regional park that includes parking and public transportation options so that children and families of all abilities are able to access the playground features. This project will create a greater number of inclusive playground elements, more space to play, and a fun environment that meets a wider range of needs and abilities. I’m looking forward to seeing more children enjoying our parks as a result of the innovative vision for this project.”
Funding for Gabriel Park’s new play area comes from the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond ($1.7 million) and $2.5 million from Parks System Development Charges (revenue from citywide construction development).
“We are committed to creating and embracing play areas which connect a greater number of people to self, to the outdoors, and to each other,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Interim Director Kia Selley. “It is rewarding to begin work on such a tremendous opportunity. The new, inclusive play area at Gabriel Park will help achieve PP&R’s goals of expanding the capacity of playground system, and creating an inclusive, ‘destination’ playground in more parts of the city to meet the needs of a growing Portland.”
“The Southwest Neighborhood Parks Committee is excited by the announcement that Portland Parks & Recreation plans to modernize and significantly expand the Gabriel Park playground, with an emphasis on accessibility,” says Steve Mullinax, Chair of Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc.
“We are very happy about more play opportunities for children of all abilities, and look forward to engaging with PP&R in moving the project forward.”
About Gabriel Park
Located roughly in the geographic center of southwest Portland, Gabriel Park provides an opportunity to serve nearly 31,000 households which currently do not have access to an inclusive outdoor playground. Gabriel Park is one of the few larger parks in the Portland Parks & Recreation system which has sufficient space, access to public transit service, a nearby community center (Southwest Community Center), parking areas, and an established variety of recreation amenities that support a project of this size and scope. Destination play areas tend to draw people from across the City, and are able to accommodate more children than a typical neighborhood playground.
About inclusive playgrounds in Portland
Inclusive play areas are designed to accommodate the needs of children of all abilities, and to suit the needs of caregivers with varying capacities. Portland Parks & Recreation’s designs for inclusive play areas are based on current, Universal Design best practices, to ensure that all visitors enjoy a sensory-rich environment - one which allows children of all abilities to play alongside each other and opportunities to develop physical, cognitive, sensory and social skills. Inclusive play areas challenge and engage users at their own unique age and developmental levels. In Portland, 4,982 people under the age of 18 self-report having a disability according to the U.S. Census estimate; 0.9% of children under the age of 4, and 5.3% of persons between ages 5 and 15 report having a disability according to Oregon’s 2016 Disability Status Report.
The Gabriel Park inclusive playground project is a result of combined funding from the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond and System Development Charges and the new understanding of playground design PP&R has gained through previous partnerships.
Historically, through partnerships and the funds they have provided, PP&R has created playground design that goes beyond the minimum of ADA Standards for Accessible Design:
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