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Marylhurst Heights Park still expanding


Park will get basketball court this summer

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Luke Bowerly plays at one of the new spray pads at Marylhurst Heights Park. Just in time for summer, the new spray pad at Marylhurst Heights Park is officially available for use, along with freshly installed restrooms and picnic shelters.

These new additions mark the end of the second phase of construction at the 10-acre park on 1800 Valley View Drive, which was opened to the public in May of 2012. The West Linn City Council approved the $381,268 phase 2 additions last August, and the work was carried out by Centrex Construction Inc.

The spray pad, though largely similar to others in West Linn, has a unique dinosaur theme that serves as a carryover from other elements at the park.

“It’s got kind of a prehistoric theme to it,” Parks and Recreation Director Ken Worcester said. “The playground has kind of these fossils embedded in the climbing rocks, so we just decided to kind of carry it through a little bit.”

The parks department commissioned Portland artist and blacksmith Arnon Kartmazov — who spent 12 years living in Japan as an apprentice with both a knife-maker and sword-maker — to work on the spray pads, finding the more generic options available elsewhere to be ill-fitting with Marylhurst’s theme.

“(They) just didn’t fit what we felt was kind of the background and backdrop for the spray pad,” Worcester said. “For the same amount of money we could kind of get what we wanted, and do it locally.”

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Marylhurst Heights Park, which opened to the public in May 2012, recently saw the completion of its second phase of construction.

The Marylhurst Heights Park was, at one point, a bit of a contentious matter in the community.

“Half the neighbors just wanted us to buy the property and leave it,” Worcester said. “But once we finally went through with it, it turned out to be a good deal.”

Bolstering the park’s standing, perhaps, was the addition of solar panels at the lower picnic shelter, which allows the park to essentially break even on energy costs.

“Basically the goal was to provide enough energy to then offset what we use up there to operate the spray pads and buildings,” Worcester said. “The panels were sized to do that, to break even.”

Should the panels continue to operate as expected at Marylhurst Heights, Worcester said the parks department hopes to install similar items at Tanner Creek Park.

“We’ll get through this season and see how it works out,” Worcester said.

Now that the second stage of the construction process is finished, Worcester and the parks department will look to install a basketball court at the park later this summer, and eventually add more parking to allow easier access to some of the trails. They will also look to re-install a sandbox that was removed during construction of the spray pads.