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Donations sought for park repairs

Cost of fixing Chapman and Lownsdale squares still unknown

A fund has been created for contributions to help restore Chapman and Lownsdale squares.

The two public parks near City Hall were damaged by the Occupy Portland encampment that last from Oct. 6 until police cleared it out on Nov. 13.

'Over the past week, I've heard from dozens of people who are interested in contributing to the rehabilitation of these historic squares,' says Parks Commissioner Nick Fish.

No official estimate of the repair cost is yet available. Early estimates placed the damage at $19,000. Fish now says he hopes the cost will be under $100,000.

The camping caused significant damage to turf, trees, and facilities in the squares, including the two public restrooms, which were both disabled. City arborists, ecologists, engineers, turf professionals and other experts are now evaluating the damage and developing plans for necessary repairs and restoration of the squares. Their work is expected to continue for about a week.

The Fund for Portland's Historic Park Squares is being established by the non-profit Portland Parks Foundation that was created to raise private donations to support the city park system. More information is available at its website, www.portlandparksfoundation.org.

'The Portland Parks Foundation hopes that this fund will provide a means for all of Portland's people to come together and express their support of the historic park squares and our remarkable - yet fragile - parks system,' says Nick Hardigg, executive director of the Portland Parks Foundation.

The squares are among Portland's oldest parks. They were purchased from William W. Chapman and Daniel H. Lownsdale in 1852, and consisted of what we now call the Plaza Blocks and two of the South Park Blocks.