Habitat restoration, sports fields, play equipment among new or restored amenities

by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Construction has begun for Barsotti Park on Southwest Blanton Street in Aloha. The 3.77-acre park will feature a multi-use field, youth tennis courts, play equipment and a community garden.With 16 construction projects under way or set to begin in the coming weeks, summer 2013 is shaping up to be as productive for Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District crews and contractors as it is fun and festive for its patrons.

With all but one project funded through the district's $100 million voter-approved bond measure from 2008, work is focused on developments and redevelopments, trail expansions, natural area restoration and maintenance upgrades are occurring in the next several months. About 130 total projects that involve developing trails and trail connections, adding athletic fields, and upgrading or expanding parks and recreational facilities are planned, with nearly half of them complete.

“When this batch of projects is done, we’ll have six newly improved parks, more trail connections and several more acres of natural areas that families can enjoy for generations to come," said Doug Menke, park district general manager. "We continue to deliver on our promise to the public."

Two of the six parks — Barsotti and Hansen Ridge — are complete developments. The other four are major upgrades, all designed with significant community input, Menke noted.

The district will build new multi-use paths for better community connectivity and enhance walking trails through established natural areas. Improvements at more than 70 acres of natural areas include creating a “Pollinator Project” to provide habitat for birds and butterflies. The district will also remove invasive weeds, shrubs and trees and replace them with native species.

Construction ahead

Here is a rundown of park additions and upgrades that are on schedule to be finished by the end of the year:

• Barsotti Park (16610 S.W. Blanton St.) — Complete development of the 3.77-acre park includes a multi-use field, youth tennis court, loop trail, community garden and play equipment.

• Hansen Ridge Park (access at south end of Southwest 147th Avenue, east of Kaiser Street) — The former Kaiser Ridge Park will be developed with new play equipment, picnic areas, pathways, benches and open grass areas, with habitat restoration also under way.

• Pioneer Park (14545 N.W. Pioneer Road) — A redevelopment with new play equipment, picnic areas, grassy areas, a drinking fountain, site furnishings, better signage, sport court revisions, and improved walking paths. The district's Natural Resources Department will also enhance the park’s natural area by removing invasive weeds and replanting with native trees and shrubs.

• Roy E. Dancer Park (5915 S.W. Murray Blvd.) — The 3-acre park will get a new hard-surface loop path, access from 150th Avenue, picnic tables and play equipment.

• Vista Brook Park (6410 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road) — Already under way, the project will include pathways, play equipment, picnic areas, basketball court upgrades, open space, parking improvements, landscape plantings and natural-area restoration.

• A.M. Kennedy Park (10200 S.W. Kennedy St., Raleigh Hills West) — Improvements include new play equipment, an athletic field, a community garden, picnic areas, pathways, drinking fountains, benches, open grassy spots and parking areas.

• Waterhouse Park (16405 S.W. Walker Road) — New playground equipment will be installed.

For further details on park district bond-related projects, visit

A natural touch

Natural area improvements include:

• Rock Creek Greenway (Rock Creek area power line corridor) — Home of the "Pollinator Project," the area is designed with birds and bees in mind. Natural resources workers will remove invasive weeds and replant them with native species to provide habitat for birds and insects that help to pollinate flowering plants. Completion: spring 2015.

• Fanno Creek Park (6895 S.W. 86th Ave.) — Extensive improvement will take place at the 20-acre park with the district's natural resources managers cooperating with Washington County's Clean Water Services to design habitat restoration in five zones, including a three-quarter-mile stretch along Fanno Creek. The project will improve water quality and bird habitat by increasing the variety and number of native shrubs and trees. Completion: winter 2015.

• Lowami Hart Woods Natural Area (14895 S.W. Hart Road) — Natural Resources will conduct a large-scale removal of non-native weeds, then replant with native species in the 30-acre park, a former Camp Fire Girls property bisected by South Johnson Creek. During this process, illegal trails will also be rerouted or closed. Both paved and soft-surface trails will transect the park. Work is being performed in conjunction with major trail enhancements. Completion: trails in spring 2014, the remainder, summer 2015.

• Morrison Woods Park (trailhead access off Muledeer Road) — Work is planned to enhance an existing meadow and stabilize the exposed edge of the forest in the northeast portion of the park. Workers will remove invasive, non-native weeds such as Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, Scotch broom and thistle and replant with native trees and shrubs. Completion: summer 2015.

On a path

Trail Expansions include:

• Waterhouse Trail — Three sections totaling more than two miles will be developed. Segments 1, 3, 5 and the West Spur will make community connections in the Bethany area. Users will be able to reach the Merlo Road MAX Station, a number of neighborhoods and the Rock Creek Trail. At just under 1,000 feet, a north/south trail will complete a gap in the Waterhouse Trail and enable a link north to Springville Road. A 216-foot east/west link will tie into the Waterhouse West Spur Trail that will eventually connect with the Rock Creek Trail. Completion: spring 2014.

• Central Bethany development — Although not bond-funded, the park district is also working in conjunction with Central Bethany Development to build two short but important community trail connections in the North Bethany area. The company, which is building a residential and commercial area in Bethany, is using Systems Development Charge credits to construct the trails, which will be turned over to the park district upon completion.

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