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Some long-awaited improvements are finally materializing inside Woodstock Park, starting with a shed

BECKY LUENING - October 25, 2017, was D-Day for an old brick storage building and covered picnic area in Woodstock Park, which had been determined by Portland Parks & Recreation to be unsafe. The Parks Replacement Bond overwhelmingly approved by Portland voters in November of 2014 authorized spending for repair and replacement projects in parks citywide. It renewed the old parks bond, which was set to expire, and granted $68 million towards some of the most critical infrastructure needs across the PP&R system.

Among those were needs identified in Woodstock Park. A brick storage building with adjoining covered picnic area that had long stood near the children's play area in the southwest corner of the park has just been demolished and removed. A chain-link fence erected around the site to prevent public access stood for about a year, before heavy equipment finally showed up on October 25th to take down the structure.

Contacted by email, Mark Ross, spokesman for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), explained, "The last approximately 100 years saw a battle between that structure and a tree, [and] the tree won. The roots were lifting the structure, causing it to lean – and, with unreinforced masonry, it did pose a potential safety issue. Portland Parks & Recreation staff made the decision to fence the building, and to remove it." Ross said there is no plan to replace the structure at this time, but the brick restroom will remain.

The decision to remove the old building was made through an "assets-at-risk process" the city uses to determine the fate of park facilities that appear unsafe or pose a potential risk to the public. The process takes into consideration the cost to repair or rebuild, whether similar facilities exist nearby, any historic or cultural significance, and how heavily the facility is used by the public. After reviewing all this criteria, Ross said, "PP&R staff made a recommendation to senior management to remove the shelter in May of 2016."

More Changes to Come

In the Parks Bond's Phase 2 Project List, Woodstock Park is also identified among twenty others in need of play equipment repair or replacement. In some cases, the replacement is because of older equipment testing positive for lead-based paint.

Pointing to this list, Ross told THE BEE that Woodstock is, indeed, in store for some new play equipment, but he added that it is too soon to know how many pieces, or which ones, will be replaced.

Updates on Parks Replacement Bond project's spending may be found online – www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/65128

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