Brentwood-Darlington hosts citys newest park

by: Rita A. Leonard, One-acre Hazeltine Park is named after long-time neighborhood 
volunteer Dick Hazeltine, who nominated the site to the City for recreational 

Dedication ceremonies for Hazeltine Park, a one-acre site at 5416 S.E. Flavel Drive, were held on the evening of October 6th. Jeff Milkes, Southeast Services Manager for Portland Parks and Recreation, praised the cooperative neighborhood program that led to the creation of this, Portland's newest park. 'This will probably be a footprint for similar small parks, which can be created from other undeveloped neighborhood areas in Portland,' he commented.

Hazeltine Park, which features two BBQ pits, picnic tables, and a horseshoe pit, was completed in less than a year for a total cost of about $21,000. Irrigation, plantings, and a fence and paved area complete the new recreation site. The park at present has no public restrooms, but an additional feature--a Butterfly Garden--is coming in the spring. The neighborhood is also discussing adding some alternative types of play equipment to the site.

Milkes noted, 'The Park is named after Dick and Opal Hazeltine, who have been so instrumental in helping the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood over the past decades.' Both Hazeltines were born just blocks away, and have been loyal neighborhood volunteers; it was Dick Hazeltine who nominated the parcel to the City as a potential park.

'Neighbors had been asking for a cleanup of the area, but we worked with Commissioner Saltzman's office, partnered with the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association, and came up with a cooperative plan to create a new City Park,' said Milkes. The two lots that make up the park are the former site of a Community Policing Station.

'There are probably about a hundred other similar potential park spaces available in Portland,' he added. 'The Bureau of Maintenance used this for a training site, and we received 200 truckloads of fill and grading services. This was a very low-budget project. We coordinated with the neighborhood and managed to produce a wonderful recreational facility in a short time. There's even a little green space here.'

PP and R Supervisor Betsy Redfearn created a 'picture wall' to show how this local eyesore had become a neighborhood public space. She also praised the food served at the event: BBQ ribs, chicken, salads, and desserts. 'The dedication ceremony was created just like the entire project,' she said. 'We divvied out the jobs among PP and R and neighborhood representatives, and it all came together. We call the process 'With a little help from our friends'.'

City Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Randy Leonard spoke at the dedication on October 6th, along with Ron Sumner from the neighborhood, and Park Bureau representatives. Saltzman noted, 'This park has a beautiful western view. It's a good place to watch sunsets. And the story of how this land became a park is inspiring. We had more desires than resources. But, by working together, we've put something in place of which we can be proud.'

Saltzman later told THE BEE that, more important than having a new park, was 'the spirit in which this park was developed. The neighbors approached us. We were happy to work with them. This is a good story.'

As Dick Hazeltine, the park's namesake, who was at the ceremony, was presented a commemorative plaque, he said, 'I'm flabbergasted, dumbfounded, and proud to see my family's name on this park.' As the cut ribbon fluttered to the ground, Hazeltine smiled and looked into the late afternoon that broke through the clouds, adding a warm glow to the celebration.

After a few brief words, guests spread pit to enjoy the benefits of Portland's newest cooperative neighborhood showcase: Hazeltine Park, on S.E. Flavel Drive. And, if you live in the area, consider helping out at a 'work party' the association holds on the second Saturday of each month, between 9 a.m. and noon. To learn more, see .

David F. Ashton contributed to this story.