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Park district works on slew of bond-measure projects


Westside Trail, Lowami Hart Woods on to-do list

With 11 projects completed last year, and more than 50 projects completed since voters passed its $100 million bond measure in 2008, the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District appears to be well on track to fulfilling promises it made to district voters.

Last year’s big ticket items included expansions/renovations of the Conestoga Recreation & Aquatic Center and Elsie Stuhr Center and the redevelopment of Camille Park. Four more projects have been completed so far this year, and some of the largest projects are yet to come.

“We accomplished a tremendous amount in 2012,” said park district General Manager Doug Menke. “It’s a tribute to solid planning, execution, fiscal management and hard work. But we still have a long way to go. It will be 2017 or 2018 before we finish all the projects in our bond program. This is definitely a marathon.”

The $100 million bond measure is designated to preserve natural areas, develop new trails and trail connections, add athletic fields and upgrade or expand parks and recreational facilities across the district. Once the measure passed, district managers began the process of planning and implementing 129 projects over a multi-year period.

One-third of the bond measure, $33.6 million, is earmarked for land acquisition. The district has purchased 14 sites for future parks and natural areas as well as numerous small properties and easements for trails, while district employees continue to negotiate with owners of many other properties, said Bob Wayt, park district spokesman.

Here is a rundown of some recently completed projects:

  • Evelyn M. Schiffler Park — This 10-acre park in Central Beaverton accessed by Southwest Erickson Avenue and 10th Street, was closed nine months for a major makeover before reopening in January. It now features 252 feet of boardwalk, play equipment with natural surfaces and textures, two picnic shelters, community gardens, athletic areas, a basketball court, pathways, and a skate spot, the first for the district outside of its main complex at 158th Avenue and Walker Road. Another plus for park visitors is a two-acre wetland area with restored habitat and overlooks for better views.

  • Rock Creek Trail — Two new segments, totaling one mile of paved trail, complete the Rock Creek Trail within park district boundaries. The trail, which stretches through neighborhoods from Bethany to Rock Creek, is now more than four miles long. In 2014, the district will expand its trail connections even more on the north end as part of a multiyear initiative to create a 10-mile, mostly continuous trail backbone extending from the PCC Rock Creek area to Barrows Road in South Beaverton.

  • The Bluffs Park and Trail — The Bluffs Park, near Northwest McDaniel and 119th roads, includes a neighborhood trail shown in the district’s Trails Plan. Phase II of the park’s master plan, which began in 2012, includes paving the trail from South Drive through to the children’s play structure, landscaping, signage and natural storm water filtering swales.
  • Other notable projects on the way include:

  • Paul & Verna Winkelman Park — Spanning more than 20 acres at 10139 S.W. 175th Ave., Paul & Verna Winkelman Park will become the Aloha area’s first community park as additional funds become available to complete it, Wayt said. Phase I construction, which started last year, includes a multi-use athletic field, a parking lot, perimeter pathway and one-acre natural area planting. An added bonus is a two-acre dog park, which will become the district’s second (aside from Hazeldale Park). The park will open this summer, with athletic field programming to begin in fall.

  • Westside Trail — This project includes three new segments of the Westside Trail. When finished, it will complete the southern half of the trail within district boundaries, extending from the Tualatin Hills Nature Park to Barrows Road. The new segments are expected to be available to users this summer, Wayt said.

  • Bronson Creek Greenway — In conjunction with Clean Water Services, the district is restoring this stream corridor by removing large amounts of invasive reed canary grass and other weeds, replacing them with native plants. Large logs have been placed for the benefit of wildlife, including western painted and western pond turtles, both of which are listed as “critical” on the state’s sensitive species list.

  • Jenkins Estate — Park managers have taken on extensive natural area rehabilitation at Jenkins Estate, 8005 S.W. Grabhorn Road, during the past three years. To benefit native squirrels and song birds, invasive plants such as English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and other weeds have been removed and replaced with more than 30,000 native plants and shrubs, Wayt said. Crews are working on new trails, enhancing existing trails and re-routing or closing others for better walking experiences and to create larger blocks for wildlife.
  • Projects moving forward this spring:

    As these projects near completion, the district is preparing to begin construction on a series of new projects this spring, most of which center on trails and neighborhood parks, Wayt said.

  • Scheduled for complete development are Barsotti Park between 160th and 170th Avenues in Beaverton, and Hansen Ridge Park off Northwest Kaiser Road. Both are expected to open in late fall.

  • Redevelopment of A.M. Kennedy Park, at 102nd and Kennedy between Canyon Road and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, has already begun and will continue throughout spring and summer.

  • Smaller redevelopment projects at Vista Brook, Pioneer, Roy E. Dancer and Roger Tilbury Memorial parks are scheduled to begin this spring and finish by the end of the year.

  • Scheduled to start this summer and be complete by next winter is a trail expansion project at the 29-acre Lowami Hart Woods at Southwest Hart Road and Murray Boulevard, Wayt said. Some trails will be rerouted and paved for better walking experiences and viewing of wildlife habitat. As part of a large natural area restoration project planned at the same site, weeds and invasive species will be removed and replaced with native plants and shrubs.
  • “There’s nothing better than to see our patrons enjoying their new facilities and knowing we’ve done our best with the bond funds they entrusted to us,” Menke said. “We appreciate their support and patience.”

    For a full description of all upcoming and completed bond projects, visit thprd.org/bondprojects.