‘Master Plan’ approved for new outer East Portland park; construction schedule remains uncertain

Neighbors and staff members from Portland Parks & Recreation have worked long and hard planning for Clatsop Butte Park. The nagging question is, “Will it ever be built?”

Vice chair of the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association Paul Grosjean, and on Clatsop Butte Park Citizen’s Committee since its inception, says he’s concerned when – or if – the park will be built.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One outer East Portland resident, Paul Grosjean, knows as much about the plans to turn 40 acres of vacant, unimproved land into Clatsop Butte Park as does anyone.

“I was selected to be on Clatsop Butte Park Citizen’s Committee at the very beginning,” said Grosjean at the unveiling of the park’s Master Plan at the Pleasant Valley Grange on November 1.

‘Can’t enjoy a Master Plan’
Grosjean said he is “thrilled” with the park’s plan concept. “The plan has reached wide consensus among all the participants for being a very responsible plan,” he continued. “It’s a plan that respects the land, and the watershed. It provides a lot of activities for people of all ages to enjoy.”

Located on the very eastern edge of SE Portland, Grosjean told us that has been a parks-deficient area for long time. When it’s built, he said, the park will provide for a wide range of needs.

“And it is important that I stress when we get the park built,” Grosjean firmly stated. “The next critical part of this process is to get the funding. I’ve always said, ‘No one can play in, or enjoy, a Master Plan’. We want the city to get a good ‘return on their investment’ in the master plan, and also for us to get a great park.”

Doug Brenner, East Portland Services Manager, and David Yamashita, senior planner with Portland Parks & Recreation take comments at the Clatsop Butte Park Master Plan Open House.

Called ‘Truly a great park site’
“We started out with about 15 or 20 acres,” David Yamashita, senior planner with Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) said about the park space. “Just after we started the process, the City of Portland picked up another 20 acres of natural resource area. It’s one of those rare sites where you have the opportunity to have both a developed park and a natural resource area, all in one park.”

When it’s developed, Yamashita added, residents will have the same kind of recreational opportunities found in other City parks. “It is truly a great site because of the views and the amenities we’re planning: A soccer field, a playground, an off-leash area for dogs, a place for small community events, and lots of benches. It will also have off-street parking.”

John Bliss, resident of Pleasant Valley, and Karen Hubbard, a homeowner in Hawthorne Ridge, discussed the development plans for this park.

Residents dream of ‘their own’ park
“I’ve been paying close attention to this project,” said John Bliss, a Pleasant Valley resident and property owner. “For many years, I’ve been working with the jurisdictions to plan the entire valley. This park is as important as making good plans for placing schools, streets, and housing projects. I want to make sure we preserve open spaces for future generations.”

Karen Hubbard, a homeowner in Hawthorne Ridge, added, “The space has sat open for a long time. This is a great opportunity to put in our own park  that really matches the needs of the community with the needs of the homeowners here. It’s been a long, but good, [planning] process. We’ve kept an eye on it, so we didn’t get a ‘cookie-cutter’ park that won’t serve us well.”

Construction timetable uncertain
However, it looks as if it may be some time before Clatsop Butte Park looks like something other than a large, unimproved plot of land.

The Master Plan may go before the Portland City Council for their acknowledgment or approval in November or December, said PP&R’s East Portland Services Manager, Doug Brenner.

“Then, probably, it will take a bond measure passing, for the park to get developed. PP&R may be going out for a bond measure in 2010, depending on the economy,” Brenner predicted.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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