Four area parks set to get a face-lift

TribTown • City asks for neighbors' input to help develop or redesign recreation sites

Neighbors of four Portland parks soon will be asked to weigh in on new designs for the land, due in part to a push by the Portland City Council to make long-vacant parkland available for use.

In east Portland, three vacant parks east of Interstate 205 finally will head toward development, while in North Portland neighbors of Cathedral Park will be asked for input on a redesign of the existing park.

All four projects are part of a Portland Parks and Recreation project that will convene a team of consultants and four citizen groups on design plans in the spring. The $350,000 effort to craft the four designs affects 80 acres of parkland citywide. Funding for future development and upgrades to all four of the parks is not yet available.

Matt Grumm, parks liaison in Commissioner Dan Saltzman's office, said a fee increase pending this year in the parks-funding program and a parks bond measure that will be on the ballot in 2010 could put the development in motion by 2012 if both take hold.

Grumm said city officials want some plans available to begin building parks if funding for their development increases.

'We felt this was a time to really lay the foundation of the future of parks in the (east Portland) area,' said Dave Yamashita, a senior planner in the parks bureau.

In that area, Clatsop Butte Park in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, Parklane in the Glenfair neighborhood, and Beech Park in the Argay neighborhood all are being slated for design.

'If you look at the outer east area - east of 205 - I believe these are among the three largest parks that we have,' Yamashita said.

'These are wonderful sites. These sites, when they are built and developed, are going to provide a number of recreational opportunities that people in outer east haven't had before,' he said.

At Parklane Park, roughly 20 acres of undeveloped land purchased from Oregon Asphalt in 2001 is being eyed for improvements. And all of Beech and Clatsop parks, which are undeveloped and comprise 16 acres each, would be planned for.

Both Beech and Clatsop parks have been in city ownership for years, Clatsop since 2000 and Beech since 1984. Additional land was purchased for Beech in 1999.

At 23-acre Cathedral Park, new designs are expected to improve the park's relationship with the residential neighbors who now dwell on its borders in recently constructed condominiums.

The designs also are expected to replace an aging fishing dock there, offer safer railroad crossings and suggest playground options.

Neighbors of Cathedral Park and the three parks in east Portland can expect to receive newsletters from the city in May detailing ways for the public to provide input on the designs.

Yamashita said at least two public meetings will be held in each neighborhood to gather input.