Ambitious Argay Terrace park opens

Find out why hundreds of people came to the grand opening of Luuwit View Park, ignoring the soaking rainstorm …

-1 Under the shelter of a covered gazebo, hundreds gather for the grand opening of the long-awaited outer East Portland Luuwit View Park, in the Argay Terrace neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After a lengthy planning process, started in 2008, ground was broken for a new City of Portland park in the Argay Terrace neighborhood on June 4, 2016. [To read about that event, CLICK HERE]

But the wait was worthwhile, said many area residents, as they sloshed through the 16-acre, $11.8 million, bowtie-shaped park during a heavy rainstorm for the grand opening ceremonies of Luuwit View Park on October 21.

-2 Rain doesn’t bother kids, eager to play on the new equipment installed at this park.

In addition to the speeches of recognition and thanks given by officials, the community celebration provided by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and its partners featured family-friendly activities.

Developed under what was called the “Beech Park Property Master Plan”, this formerly undeveloped land, adjacent to Shaver Elementary School, now offers accessible modern creative play areas, a water play feature, gardens, paths, sports fields, and a skateboard bowl.

-3 This covered area provides rain shelter for the hundreds of enthusiastic new park supporters on hand to celebrate the opening of the new East Portland park.

Under the cover of a new gazebo/stage/picnic shelter designed by Studio in partnership with Skylab Architecture, a local architecture firm, some 500 folks crowded in to get out of the rain, during the official opening ceremonies for Luuwit View Park. During dryer weather, the naturally sculpted and terraced seating area, south of the gazebo, will be an ideal concert venue.

But, the showers that day didn’t detour many others from trying out the new play areas, including climbing structures and slides.

-4 Addressing the crowd at the grand opening ceremony is Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

“There are many things that I enjoyed about this, today,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Of course seeing the children playing on the new equipment was wonderful.”

PP&R Director Mike Abbaté told East Portland News that what stood out to him was that, on a tremendously rainy day, hundreds of people nevertheless turned out to celebrate the beautiful new park.

-5 He’s very happy with how this park turned out, says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté.

“The sense of community was evident at every turn,” Abbaté smiled. “Everyone, with rain soaking their clothes, had big smiles on their faces!”

About the design of the park – Abbaté, himself a Fellow with the American Society of Landscape Architects, observed, “It shows we’re not just building parks in outer east Portland; we’re building gorgeous parks.

-6 Sculptor/artist Mauricio Robalino is honored during the opening observance for his design of the sculpture entitled “Bird” that graces the park. Sculpture photo courtesy of PP&R

“The play elements, the expansive fields and views, the beautiful art by Mauricio Robalino, and all the other features together, make Luuwit View a neighborhood gem that we at Portland Parks & Recreation are very proud to deliver,” Abbaté said.

Commissioner Fritz said her eyes were immediately drawn to “The Bird” – the sculpture by artist Mauricio Robalino to which Abbaté had referred. “A massive flock of geese flew over the park; it seemed like a blessing, which made the grand opening even more special.”

-7 Trying out a new water feature, neighbor Caden Williamson pumps water.

-8 “It’s never to wet to take a slide!” say young neighbors living near the new park, Penelope Hungerford and Victor Hungerford.

Luuwit View Park isn’t on a main street; it’s located west of Shaver Elementary School, and has an official address of “NE 127th Avenue and Fremont Street”.

The address of the entry is actually at the end of the “stub” avenue, a half-block north of Fremont Street. It appears to also be accessible from the “stub” of NE 129th Avenue, and where NE 131st Place dead-ends.

To find out more, see PP&R’s official website for this park: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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