Park amenities take shape at Powell Butte Reservoir project

Part 2: Powell Butte Nature Park Restoration – See how the brand-new buildings and other amenities are coming along – and, why from the start that they’ll look like they’ve been there for decades, once the project is complete …

After touring the main project site, PWB Senior Engineering Associate and Assistant Construction Manager Rick Lapp walks back to continue the tour of the improvements being made to Powell Butte Nature Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Last week, in Part 1 of this story, updating the progress of the “Powell Butte Reservoir Project”, East Portland News took readers over, around, and inside this massive and complex project undertaken by the Portland Water Bureau (PWB).

> To see Part 1, “New Powell Butte Reservoir project moves ahead at brisk pace”, CLICK HERE.

PWB Senior Engineering Associate and Assistant Construction Manager Rick Lapp and PWB Public Information Manager Tim Hall continued the tour by traveling to the amenities that serve visitors to Powell Butte Nature Park.

While driving away from the main work site, Lapp pointed out that the new reservoir will be less noticeable than its predecessor.

The soil covering of Reservoir No. 2 will slope from the high point, nearest the camera, down along the contour of the hillside, from right to left.

“The soil covering Reservoir No. 1 resembles a big un-groomed soccer field,” Lapp told East Portland News. It’s a big flat surface.”

When completed, Reservoir No. 2 it will be covered with the topsoil that was removed and stockpiled. The ground will slope – giving the land a little bit more of a contour from the high point on the south to the lower point at the north. But, it’ll still drop off, and it will have a bit of a ‘face’ on the north side. When all that is done, the area will be repopulated with native plants.

The new parking lots are the first amenities visitors will see, when they come to visit Powell Butte Nature Park.

Driving a four-wheel-drive ATV to a vantage point at the newly-paved parking area at Powell Butte Nature Park, Lapp pointed out a special road-surface paving strategy.

“See how the main driveways look different than the parking areas?” Lapp quizzed.

“The main travel ways are regular hard asphalt. But, the parking areas are actually ‘water permeable’. When it’s dry, if you pour a cup of water on this surface, the water will soak right through it. It is part of our stormwater management.”

Welcoming visitors to the site will be the Powell Butte Interpretative Center.

Workers continue construction on the Powell Butte Interpretative Center. Note the natural wood beams inside the visitor’s center area.

As we motored over to the Powell Butte Interpretative Center, we saw that workers were installing flashing around the roof line, while others worked inside.

“With large doors open, display boards will swing out,” Lapp explained, as he pointed out the beautiful natural wood beams inside the structure.

Friends of Powell Butte will now have its own meeting space, and an Interpretive Center.”

No longer a double-wide trailer, the “Caretaker’s Home” features classic, timeless architecture.

Kim Barton of Cornerstone Construction – who built the deck and railing on the Caretaker’s Home – admires the view.

The tour concluded with a quick look at the Maintenance Building.

“The Maintenance Building will provide room for the caretaker’s tractor and spraying equipment,” Lapp said. “There will be some storage for the Interpretive Center.”

The Maintenance Building will be clad in wood, making it look like a rustic barn.

Also housed near the Maintenance Building is a bay for Portland Parks & Recreation to keep its equipment.

“And, inside will be our electrical generators, communication switch gear, and instrumentation,” Lapp said, wrapping up our tour.

“We appreciate people being patient,” Lapp added. “But we are on schedule. Not only will this project help ‘keep Portland in water’, it will also provide world-class amenities for visitors for Powell Butte Nature Park, for decades to come.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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